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Reservoir Dogs
1992 - Rated R for pervasive strong language and strong violence - 1 hour and 36 Mins.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Quentin Tarantino
Review by: John Ulmer
   

This is for Saturn 3!
"Reservoir Dogs" is one of the rare films that lives up to its hype. Much like "Goodfellas," this film did not let me down, but I actually enjoyed it much more than I ever dreamed.

The film plays backwards, a bit like "Memento." It opens at the end, and recounts the last few days in the lives of crooks pulling a jewelry heist. But as we learn immediately in the beginning that the heist went wrong. Someone ratted to the cops; the cops showed up during the heist and all heck broke loose. But I may be getting ahead of myself.

In the beginning of the film, Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) and Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) are in a car. Mr. Orange has been shot. We don't know how, he just has. Mr. White brings Mr. Orange to a warehouse, and the two men enter. Eventually Mr. Pink (the wonderful Steve Buscemi) shows up, followed by Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), a crazy madman who opened fire on civilians at the jewelry heist. For the duration of the film, we are left to wonder who the cop is/was, and how everything happened.

Things open up bit-by-bit. We are shown every Mr.'s life in the last few days before the heist, and what all happened. Of course, the men aren't really Mr. White, Mr. Pink, Mr. Orange and Mr. Blonde. These are their fake names for the sake of the heist. But we learn their real names and the parts they play in he robbery as the film moves on. And the last twenty minutes of this film is one of the most absorbing twenty minutes in film history. Things appear all of a sudden. For example, how Mr. Orange got shot. Once you realize who shot him and why, things start to make more sense. Because knowing who Mr. Orange is makes you wonder why he got shot. But who is Mr. Orange? Is he the cop? Or is he someone else? See the movie for yourself and figure it all out.

"Reservoir Dogs" ain't no "Goodfellas," but on the level of film it is a masterpiece. The opening scene is one of the most mimicked scenes in film history. And the performances are extraordinary. Harvey Keitel fills in the shoes of Mr. White, who some said Robert De Niro would have been better for. In all respect, I do like De Niro better, and admit that the character carries many traits that De Niro's characters usually do. Cool under pressure. Smart. Always thinking. You can see his brain working like a clock. But I must also admit that Harvey Keitel did a very, very good job of bringing his character to life. You can almost see the chemistry between the actors boiling up. I like films where there aren't many characters, because you will almost always find the actors on screen giving some of the best performances of their lives. They are locked with these other actors, and their performance just gets stronger with every line they speak. Take, for instance, the tension between Mr. White and Mr. Blonde. Keitel and Madsen really go at each other, and it's great. And Buscemi, my personal favorite of the group, is not only funny, but fun to watch on screen. His performance is as great as his humor.

It's safe to say that Quentin Tarantino is a talented director. With films such as "Pulp Fiction," "Jackie Brown" and "Reservoir Dogs" on his resume, it's easy to understand why there's some hype and worry built up around his upcoming flick "Kill Bill" (his first director-outing in more than a few years). But in "Reservoir Dogs," Tarantino delivers a hard-hitting, foul, and sometimes truly appalling film, that grips you by the throat and never lets go.

"Reservoir Dogs" isn't for everyone. Like I said, it is a rough, tough, gruff and at times sickening film (see the police torture scene). But if you can handle some very strong violence and language, then this film is for you. It's got some amazing talents, some fairly unknown at the time, bringing together one well-written, well-directed film. Quentin Tarantino has said to be losing his charm for making a good film lately, but no one can forget this film.
 
Movie Guru Rating
A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic.
  5 out of 5 stars

 
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