The third pick was Reservoir Dogs aka #708 on the list. This is a film I have heard of, heard about and I was able to recognise its iconic elements. However I have never seen this film, despite being a Tarantino fan.
IMDb Score: 8.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
So when I picked this film out, I was happy to get the opportunity to watch it. I also would have no excuse not to watch it, it’s on the list, I picked it out and I can’t go back, swap or skip a film on the list.
(Image credit: wikia fandom)
There will be SPOILERS AHEAD!
Despite showing some violent aspects of the film in its trailer, it still came across of more of a comedy, with lots of laughter and antics which all play to the ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ by Stealers Wheel.
“Every “Dog” has its day”
Facts Before Film
Director: Quentin Tarantino (My favourite)
Screenplay By:Quentin Tartantino
Producer: Laurence Bender (Produced a majority of Tarantino films)
Production Company: Artisian Entertainment and Dog Eat Dog Productions
Released By: Miramax Films
Hallmarks: Violent crime, pop culture, profanity, non linear story
Review By ‘C’
The opening scene is very Tarantino (be warned I will probably be saying this a lot) with all the men who are going to be involved with the heist sit around a table in a cafe/restaurant. Of course, they are discussing the true meaning of Madonna’s, ‘Like A Virgin.’
Tarintino, this being his only on camera appearance controls the conversation. It is here that we get a slight sense of the ‘Misters’ (what I call them all as a group) personalities. Something I really liked about this film was that each ‘Mister’ was a really distinctive character.
The cafe is also a scene for foreboding “If you shoot me in a dream you better wake up and say apologise” (03:15) I liked this line, and found it humorous. The reference of shooting Mr White (Harvey Keitel) was made twice by Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen).
A lot in the cafe scene seems random and pointless (very Tarantino), and is just a group of men sitting in a cafe discussing song meaning, arguing over tipping and mocking each other. But throughout the movie, and by the end of it, the character set ups in that scene begin to take fruition.
During the opening scene all I was waiting for was the black suits, sunglasses and ‘Little Green Bag,’ and it wasn’t long before I got what I wanted (in slow mo. no less). The monotone radio host introduces the song, his voiceovers effect the tone of the film (very clever).
Ten minutes in and we are straight into the action, where Mr Orange (Tim Roth) bleeds out in the back seat of a car, driven by Mr White. Mr White comforts Mr Orange and holds his hand, ensuring him that he will live. Although this film is about tough men, I noticed that intimacy, isn’t something they hold back on. Perhaps if this film was made today then that kind of relationship might be seen as a ‘gay’ one, but in this film, it just proves that these are real guys.
Back at the rendezvous Mr White does the best that he can for Mr Orange, he can’t take him to the hospital since they just committed a robbery, despite Mr Orange’s claims that he’ll keep his mouth shut. Mr White hold Mr Orange (13:09) and comforts him again when the fear of dying, is obvious in Mr Orange’s eyes.
I hope their names aren’t confusing you yet, in the film they make much more sense. At least to me they do.
The plan was to wait for Joe (Lawrence Tierney) to come and meet them all at the rendezvous. The disagreement over whether to wait or got to the hospital also leads to a lot of swear words being exchanged (typical Tarantino).
Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi) is the next to arrive back, pissed off and agitated about how the heist has gone down. His belief is that the crime was a setup, that someone in the group tipped the police off, since their arrival to the scene was imminent. To me the film felt quick paced despite the lack of action, but it worked well for me.
Mr Pink and Mr White go to a sort of bathroom area, where Mr White washes his bloody hands. They leave Mr Orange unconscious in the main area of the warehouse. They talk about how Mr Blonde messed it all up when he started a shootout, but Mr Pink is still more convinced of a set up.
The men have only met each other to work on this job, and only know each other by their alias’, so when Mr Pink finds out Mr White has given out his real name, and where he is from to Mr Orange, he gets even more irritated. This also adds to his suspicions of a rat within the group.
In a flashback (20:35), we see Mr Pink in the immediate aftermath of the heist. He runs down a street holding the bag of stolen jewels, and being chased by the police. He eventually gets hit by a car, which he then steals to use as a getaway vehicle. Mr Pink states that he has hidden the diamonds, and continues his inquiries about a rat in the pack.
Next, we see how Mr White became involved in this job (27:15), he meets Joe at his beautiful and large home, where they chat in Joe’s office about the plan for the heist.
30 MINIUTE TIME CHECK: It’s fine, I was enjoying it at this point, and had no complaints. My only comment being that it was very Tarantino (of course, it was).
Under the pressure and agitation caused by the heist going wrong, Mr Pink and Mr White begin to fight, before pulling their guns out on each other. Mr Blonde, interrupts them, as he stands on the other side of the room slurping on a drink from a fast food place.
The other two are mad at Mr Blonde, especially Mr White who is angry about Mr Blonde’s actions leading to Mr Orange being shot. Mr White is angry and irrational, whereas Mr Blonde is calm and doesn’t care “Are you gonna bark all day little doggy or bite” (35:20)
Calmly Mr Blonde asks the other two to follow him outside to his car, they all head towards the boot where Mr Blonde reveals a cop tied up in his boot (37:50).
Then we learn about how Mr Blonde aka Vic Vagar was hired for this job. Mr Blonde is a long-time friend of Joe, and his son Eddie (Chris Penn), and goes to see Joe after being released from prison. Joe also took care of Mr Blonde while he was in prison, and is looking to Joe for some help.
Mr Blonde is eager to make more from a job again, but his parole officer is Seymour Skagnettie (we never meet him) who is a jobs worth, and won’t let Mr Blonde to leave the halfway house until he has a proper job.
Eddie tells Mr Blonde, that he’ll get him a fake job where Mr Blonde will have to travel to do deliveries etc, so if Seymour comes by they can say that he just missed Mr Blonde (It’s described a lot better in the film), but it’s a smart plan, and means that Mr Blonde can go on the heist.
Another thing that amused me was that Eddie calls Joe “Daddy” instead of just Dad or something like that. It again was an interesting thing to do in the film that is about a group of criminals, who you would normally associate with being hardmen.
Monotone radio host changes the tone of the film once more, new song to set the new scene.
Eddie is on his car phone, taking to someone about what actually went down with the heist. He hasn’t talked to his “Daddy” yet, but is making his way to the rendezvous, to talk to the ‘Misters’.
Meanwhile in back at the rendezvous Mr Pink and Mr White are beating up the cop, who they have tied to a chair. They interrogate him about how the cops knew to show up, and when but he is new to the force and doesn’t know. Mr Orange remains unconscious on the slopped floor. Soon Eddies shows up wanting answers, and the ‘Misters’ all start to argue and blame each other.
Shortly after Eddie does show up and he is pissed (48:56), he tells the rest of them that Mr Brown (Quentin Tarantino) is dead. The men are all still angry about the whole thing, and leads to a great line from Eddie “First things fucking last” (49:50).
Mr Pink and Mr White think that Mr Blonde is a psycho and ruined everything, putting them all in danger. Their accusations are followed by a great performance from Madsen and a great speech from Mr Blonde (50:50) that I thought really summed up his character. “If they hadn’t have done what I told them not to do they’d still me alive” (51:25). I like Tarantino’s weird syntax in this film, it made me have a lot of favourite lines from the film.
Eddie wants them all to move the cars to avoid suspicion from the cops, so he takes Mr Pink and Mr White with him, leaving Mr Blonde alone with the kidnapped copper. So of course, Mr Blonde decides to torture him, not for answers but for fun to ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ (the perfect torture song for a Tarantino film).
Mr Blonde takes out a pocket knife, and gets the party started dancing along to his specially chosen song. The camera pans to a piece of graffiti that reads ‘Watch your head’ (56:40), while off camera Mr Blonde slices off the policeman’s ear (it’s a very clean cut). Another example of Tarantino’s clever filmmaking, even in his early days.
Mr Blonde then goes to get gasoline from his car boot, the music is loud as he heads out of the warehouse, as he steps out it is muffled and by the time he reaches the car you can’t hear the music. I liked this and thought it was realistic and clever. The same happens in reverse as he heads back in to pour petrol all over the tied-up cop.
Still dancing Mr Blonde begins to pour the petrol over the cop, and the floor. SPOLIER ALERT; as Mr Blonde takes out his lighter to watch the cop burn, Mr Orange shoots him multiple times and kills him (or at least maims), I mean after all Mr Orange is lying in a pool of his own blood and he’s still alive (barely, but alive).
S P O L I E R A L E R T! (if you want to watch this film yourself don’t read on until you have seen it, this could potentially ruin the film for you, I know it would have for me.)
So, we hear Mr Orange’s back story, and how he got hired for this job. This is possibly the longest flashback scene of the film, but for good reason because as it turns out… Mr Orange is the undercover that Mr Pink Suspected all along.
Mr Orange is a cop, a rat, a whatever you want to call it.
Mr Orange’s backstory is him meeting with another detective, who is training him to be a successful undercover. Mr Orange has already had a meeting with Joe, and been hired for the job, so he needs to be convincing in the lead up to the heist, thus comes ‘The Commode Story’. A story best explained by Tarantino’s excellent storytelling abilities.
Detail is everything. We see Mr Orange making the story his own, with his flashback involves flashbacks within flashbacks, and we see how he infiltrates the group.
Another Tarantino feature in his films is that everyone has a story. Almost every scene involves someone telling a story to other someone’s about something they know better, but ultimately leads to a dispute amongst the group over unimportant details (Ironically).
We never see the heist itself, the entire film revolves around the aftermath, but we do see a small glimpse into the set up. More specifically the guys getting their ‘Mister’ names, “Why am I Mr Pink?” (1hr21) whether they like them or not. This scene is quite funny, while most of them accept their names Mr Pink in unhappy and would rather be called Mr Black, but Joe has to tell him off and lets him know you can’t swap your name (besides Mr Black is being used for another job).
Mr Brown was originally the getaway driver, but as we jump into the scene he is struggling and crashes the car. He gets a head injury and Mr Orange and Mr White leave him for dead. They then have to run from police, they stop a woman in a car, and attempt to steal it. The woman shoots Mr Orange in the stomach, so he shoots her in the head (like you do).
We return to the post credit opening scene (1hr26).
Back in the present time, Eddie returns with Mr White and Mr Pink wondering what happened while they were gone. Mr Orange lies and tells them that Mr Blonde was talking about killing everyone, then taking off with the diamonds.
This doesn’t go down will Mr Blonde’s good friend Eddie, who tells them how Mr Blonde spent 4 years in prison for Eddie and his “Daddy”, and that he had only just gotten out of prison. At this point Joe arrives and tells everyone that Mr Orange is an undercover cop (1hr30). Joe had, had doubts about Mr Orange from the beginning.
Eddie and Joe pull out their guns and point them at Mr White and Mr Orange, who point there’s back at the Father and Son. They shoot and Eddie and Joe fall to the ground (presumably dead). Mr Pink having not been involved takes off with a bag, and runs away, outside the sound of gunfire, shouting and gunfire can be heard.
Mr White holds Mr Orange and points his gun at Mr Orange’s head, while Mr Orange begs him not to. Mr Orange admits to his friend Mr White that he is a cop, the camera pans to Mr White’s head as the cops enter the building, (1hr35) The film fades to black as gunshots are heard, and we can make the conclusion that everyone is dead.
“Are you gonna bark all day like a little doggy or bite” (35:20) Mr Blonde to Mr White
It’s hard to pick a signficant scene out of a Tarantino film, since his films tend to be told out of order, so there won’t necissarily be a scene that effects the rest of the story. But there usually is a scene that he starts with, then brings back around near the end of the film.
In the case of Reservoir Dogs, it would be the scene were Mr Orange is bleeding out in the back of a stolen car, driven by Mr White. Since this is the scene the one that is repeated like an almost checkpoint of the film.
I’d give this film a 7/10, what do the rest of you think?
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The next film will be; #935 Berberian Sound Studio