My favorite film is KILL BILL. I consider both volumes one film, but if you wanna get specific about it then KILL BILL VOL.2 is my favorite. My love for the film kick started my love for exploitation cinema. And for several years made Quentin Tarantino my favorite director. So for the next several weeks expect to see posts on not only Tarantino's films, but also his influences.
One thing I've noticed about RESERVOIR DOGS over multiple viewings is how well it holds up as a Tarantino film. This is his first directorial effort, but it doesn't look like one. Granted, the film does have some weaknesses which are improved in his second feature, PULP FICTION. But what I'm trying to say is that from the very beginning Tarantino set out to make a distinct oeuvre. The sum of a lifework of an artist, writer, or composer. So far all seven of his films feel like a body of work. With every single one of his films you know you're watching a Quentin Tarantino movie. And it all started with his first feature.
Sure, any artist or writer can have an oeuvre. But when I think of oeuvre I tend to think of people like Mozart, Picasso, Kurosawa, and Bergman. Not an filmmaker for hire like say Brett Ratner.
So much to say about RESERVOIR DOGS. The first time I saw this movie I had no idea who Tarantino was. Back in the day, I rented movies from this local joint called Movies n Video. I rented a lot from that place so they knew me by name. One of the employees knew I liked action movies so he told me to check "Dogs" out. I did and my first impression was originality and violence portrayed like I haven't seen before. In fact, while I thought it was cool and interesting, I probably didn't “get” the movie. It wouldn't be till about 10 years later that I fully loved and appreciated the film.
RESERVOIR DOGS is a heist movie. Most genre movies are reflective appreciations of each other. In other words, if you've seen one heist movie you've seen em all. But with RESERVOIR DOGS, he turns the heist genre on its head. He reinvents the formula. I can't think of any crime/heist movie where the film doesn't even show you the heist? I don't think there are very many crime movies where the bad guys talk about normal everyday things? Quentin Tarantino changed all of that!
He loves his characters and the actors who play them. He gives them cool background music; he gives them wonderful dialogue. All these things happen in the first 10 plus minutes of RESERVOIR DOGS.
The opening scene takes place in a diner. Sitting around a large table is a group of guys all dressed up in suits. One of the men starts talking (in lurid detail) about the "true" meaning of Madonna's "Like A Virgin". What a way to start a movie! The conversation then segue to K-Billy's Super Sounds of the 70's weekend, then the famous rant of why Mr. Pink doesn't tip his waitresses. They leave the restaurant in slow motion with "Little Green Bag" playing as background music. Mr. Tarantino knows what cool is!
RESERVOIR DOGS is about a heist that has gone terribly wrong. Primarily taking place in one location, the rendezvous, the surviving criminals try to figure out what went wrong. One of the criminals suspects that there is a rat in the group that tipped off the cops. The rest of the film is recounted in flashbacks centering on key characters in the film. But to be fair they really aren't flashbacks. This is just Tarantino's novel approach to storytelling. And what I find most interesting still to this day is that none of the segments show the jewelry store heist!
I can't give away the ending, but it does have to do with probably my favorite part of the film. And that is the Mr. Orange segment. The film is over 20 years old so I can probably go into spoilers. But for that one person that may read this and that hasn't seen the movie? I just can't do it, sorry.
So next up is probably PULP FICTION? But before that expect to see at least a couple posts on films that have influenced the early works of Tarantino. Sometime or another I wanna blog about ROLLING THUNDER, BREATHLESS, STRAIGHT TIME, THE KILLERS, and a few others