Revervoir Dogs (1992)
Starring Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, and Michael Masden.
Six strangers brought together by criminal kingpin Joe Cabot for a jewelry heist deal with the fallout when the job goes wrong. As they re-group to find out who is alive, who is dead, and what happened, they begin to suspect they were sold out and one of their number is a police informant. In Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut, the story is told in bits and pieces where the beginning, middle, and end intertwine and wrap around each other to tell the tale of the heist. The movie mostly follows the exploits of Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Blond (Michael Masden), and Mr. Orange (Tim Roth). As the story progresses, we find out some of their travails before and during the job, and some revelations are revealed that shed light on how the heist went wrong and who can and cannot be trusted.
A story of greed, violence, and deception is intricately spun by Tarantino and is a launching pad for the types of stories we would come to expect in future films like Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill: Vol 1 & 2. It takes awhile to get a feel for this film, even after watching it a couple times. A cursory watching or an uninformed watching makes the movie come across as a expletive-laden soiree in violence and 70’s music. However, I see a movie that has a unique way of telling a story and keeps us engaged as we learn more about some of the major players. Mr. White is over-trusting of Mr. Orange and his trust is based off of Orange taking a bullet in the heist and shooting an innocent civilian who shot him. It is ultimately his trust of Mr. Orange that leads to the downfall of everyone in the warehouse, along with Mr. Orange’s deception as the informant and undercover cop. We also see Mr. Blond, a recently released prisoner who wants to get back to his life of crime, which Joe and his son Eddie are much obliged to arrange. Mr. Blond’s time in jail sets up for his hatred of police officers in the movie and his deranged nature that leads him to shoot employees of the jewelry store and torture a police officer he captured.
For those unable to find any sort of redemptive quality in this movie, it is certainly a nihilistic film that ends with everyone dead except Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), and there has always been debate among fans of the movie if he gets away with the diamonds or is caught by the police. This movie ultimately can end as a commentary on crime that it does not pay. Everyone ends up dead, and they end up dead because everyone wants the jewels, and Mr. Orange will not call in the cops until Joe Cabot shows up (which can be argued to lead to his death, along with everyone else’s and the unfortunate police officer who was abducted by Mr. Blond). Reservoir Dogs can be classified (to put it as James Harelman puts it) “Life in the Hole”, movie that explores man in the midst of his sinful and depraved condition. The deadly sin of greed (it can be argued Mr. Orange feigned saving himself and the police officer because the police greedily wanted Joe Cabot) leads to violence, betrayal, false trust, and ultimately revenge and death.
“Are you gonna bark all day little doggy, or are you gonna bite?” -Mr.Blond, Vic Vega