• A remarkable debut—a born virtuoso– like Welles, The Coen Brothers or our two fathers of the French New Wave this one comes direct from Tarantino as a wholly realized voice and cinematic vision
  • A taut 99 minutes— so weird given the rest of QT’s sometimes overly-talky work (I mostly don’t even acknowledge Death Proof but even that is 113 minutes)
  • Dark and nihilistic
  • No score to speak of – all pop/rock soundtrack work (which would be a Scorsese’ism—as is the casting of Keitel)—the closest connection to the plot would probably be Kubrick’s The Killing but there are references to many other films (Lee Marvin, Lost Boys)
  • An embarrassing two thumbs down from Siskel and Ebert
  • The first words in a QT film are from QT himself discussion Madonna—the camera moves behind the shoulders of the gangsters at the table—diving back and forth almost- engrossing from the onset
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is reservoir-dogs-opening-1.jpg
  • Voice over DJ of the hilariously dry Steven Wright
  • The production logo shot of the slow-motion suits turning the corner is fantastic cinema
  • There’s one real setting- an empty warehouse
  • Small nice touches enrich the characterizations—Keitel combing Roth’s hair as he lies wounded in his arms
  • It deconstructs the linear narrative like Rashoman (which is really about not only breaking the narrative but changing POV’s), Jarmuch’s Mystery Train and many others—but we also have flashbacks here (and one flashback within a flashback as Roth’s character tells a story) — 27 minutes in we get titles on “Mr. White” — 37 on “Mr. Blonde” – 63 minutes “Mr. Orange”
  • The performances are immaculate—Keitel, Buscemi and Madsen— all major triumphs for them— and even the smaller rolls— I think Chris Penn is an important casting decision- a pushover an actor here would get blown off the screen by these other guys and Penn prevents that
  • The first of many glorious trunk shots from QT
  • In the text there’s a he’s a “Goodfella like you” line
  • The Madsen sadistic shuffle to “Stuck in the Middle With You” is a transcendent cinematic moment and it’s not just the performance and it certainly isn’t just the violence. It’s the magnificent tracking shot as we follow Madsen to the car and back and how the music is off when we’re outside and then back on when he reenters the warehouse—astounding– we then get the great cutaway of the actual slicing of the ear which is a choice- it’s more horrifying than showing it
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is madsen-reservoir-dogs-going-to-car.jpg
  • A great Welles/Wyler/De Palma framing shot—the cop’s head while he sits in the chair tied up with Roth in the background- stunner
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is reservoir-dogs-aldkjfdfajfdfajkafjafjfjlasfjas.jpg
  • Another nice shot is graffiti-laden mise-en-scene shot when Roth’s Mr. Orange talks to his cop buddy about the story he’s going to rehearse
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is reservoir-dogs-graffiti-shot-1024x576.jpg
  • Full De Palma 360 degree shot of Roth in the bathroom in the cops in that fake flashback story
  • A quiet QT moment of brilliance is the hallway shot during a discussion between Buscemi and Keitel — to use a natural setting as a picture frame is pretty impressive visually for a first time director
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is reservoir-dogs-tarantino-hallway-1-1024x435.jpg
  • A masterstroke of bad guy small talk and jokes—crackling dialogue that is David Mamet yet very much QT’s own voice of course and the structural achievement bravura
  • Must-See and Masterpiece border