Reservoir Dogs started Quentin Tarantino’s career with a bang. Right out the gate, almost every Tarantino trademark is present. Harsh language, excessively bloody violence, 70’s era music, conversations about pop culture, and trunk shots. Although I’m a film buff (much like the director) who’s seen well over a thousand movies, I’ve actually never seen a Tarantino flick. Despite every movie aficionado I know claiming he’s one of the greats. I just knew the hard R content would be a lot to take in. So I waited until I was old enough and very recently did a marathon of every movie he’s ever directed. Now I fully understand what all the hype was about.
Reservoir Dogs gained attention as an independent production. It’s a heist film without a heist. Everything is driven by sharp dialogue that’s more like real life conversations. The titular gang of unknown criminals are first seen talking about Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and the ethics of tipping in a diner. They also discuss old TV shows, comic books, and say the n-word a lot (Tarantino’s most divisive motiff). The heist crew plans to rob a jewelry store that we never see. In the most iconic shot, actors new and old slow-motion walk to “Little Green Bag.”
They consist of Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Edward Bunker, and Tarantino himself. They stand out for their colorful codenames: Mr. White, Mr. Pink, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Orange, Mr. Blue, and Mr. Brown. The most infamous scene is easily the one involving Blonde’s sadistic torture of a tied up cop. While dancing along to “Stuck in the Middle with You.” These aren’t good people, but they can be very funny. In nonlinear fashion, one of them is revealed to be a rat. Leading to a Mexican standoff and the unexpected death of almost everyone. As Quentin Tarantino’s shortest film to date, Reservoir Dogs shocked it’s way into cinematic history.