Thursday, June 01, 2006

#25- Reservoir Dogs- Quentin Tarantino- 1992

Here it is, Trick of the Light.

Most people when placing their all-time fav movies have Pulp Fiction as their highest film of the Tarantino catalogue. However (and this is not the reason it makes it up this high), I believe that Tarantino was at his best during Reservoir Dogs. Without relying on big name actors (at this point, people like Madsen, Roth and Kietel were not the A-List actors of most of Tarantino's works to come) or a big budget (PF was 8 mil and RD was 1.2 mil), it still acheived the same level of great storytelling, characters, dialogue and gritty violence that its predocessor did. And for my dime, its overall a much more enjoyable experience. The way the film is edited into seeing into each character individually and in Tarantino's usual non-linear fashion is crisp, refreshing and fun.

Most of us know what the film is about, but for those unsure or for those who haven't seen the film (which means you need to see it NOW), you have your basic hiest-gone-wrong. One of the men on the job is a cop and the whole twisting and turning of the story goes on with the characters, but the audience knows fairly early on in the film whats up. This adds a level of suspense even though we know who tipped off the cops.

Buscemi, Kietel, Roth and Madsen play off of each other in sweetest perfection. Roth in his bleeding state is one of the most over-the-top yet perfect roles of his career. Only his role in The Hit could measure up with this one. Madsen plays the cool, calm and psychotic criminal to a tee. Kietel is your basic redeeming crook with an ethical code that runs him into walls later on in the film. Buscemi is the man-on-the-run character who only cares for himself. Buscemi proves that an actor can be unattractive yet totally enthralling with this role.

Tarantino had so much control over the flow of this film that it is next to impossible for me not to appreciate how he took a shoe string budget and made the film work. The backdrop of 70s vintage hits, you have your classic Tarantino love of music, explotation and ultra-violence.

It all started here.


j. leo said...

I agree that this is slightly more impressive than PF. I think I have it two slots above that on my list. I really see those two films as a set - one of Tarantino defining himself to indie fans, then one of him breaking into the next level and getting a film that should have been too weird and too violent for mass appreciation into the mainstream.

And to see a great Keitel performance before he was well known, you really ought to see Bad Liuetenant. This guy Abel Ferrera was really pushing the line Tarantino-style just a year or so before him. Of course, no one ever saw it, so he didn't ever get the recognition QT did for similar styles.

I think that's what drives me about R Dogs and Pulp - they were influential to many filmmakers, but they actually made it into mainstream recognition. Of course, it also led to a decade of crappy wannabes like The Whole Nine Yards and Be Cool.

And lastly, my one professor HATES this film with a passion... but he's a dick, so I like it even more. That QT stamp is ever-present, and why not?

Drew said...

This is the first (and probably only) time I've ever read Reservoir Dogs described as "crisp, refreshing and fun." Are you sure you're not talking about Must Love Dogs? They're easy to mix up, so, you know...