Quentin Tarantino Spotlight
What is left to say about the first outing for director/ writer Quentin Tarantino, a then 29-year-old product of the Sundance Institute’s Director’s Workshop? Along with the likes of Tim Burton, John Waters, David Lynch, and David Cronenberg, Tarantino is one of the few filmmakers whose every film has a cult following. However, in my books, the true definition of a cult film, is a movie that only finds the majority of it’s following, years after the initial release. Reservoir Dogs may have been a Sundance hit, but most Q.T. Fans (including myself) only discovered the small indie triumph years later on VHS. Unlike Pulp Fiction, which was a huge box office success and an Academy Award nominee, Reservoir Dogs only found a true following on home video. So, in my opinion, the only true “Cult Film” from the director, is his directorial debut.
Featuring a tightly woven script, clever directorial style, cracking dialogue and a superb cast who populate his picture as morally ambiguous criminals, Reservoir Dogs is a testosterone meltdown that gleefully immerses itself in love of outlaws, profanity, violence and pop culture. It’s aggressive, intelligent, visceral and unforgettable. Decades years later, perhaps what stands out most is Tarantino’s camera work. There is not a single dull shot in the movie, from the opening scene continuously circulating the breakfast club to the slow-motion Wild Bunch credit sequence, to the brilliant pan-away during the cutting of the ear, and thereafter when the camera follows Blonde outside the warehouse to his car, and back inside again. There’s a method to Tarantino’s style; every frame is calculated and every line of dialogue serves to set the action in motion. The film never slows down, and Tarantino makes great use of dozens of long tracking shots. Even more impressive is that the film boasts a timeless quality since it is unclear as to what decade they’re in. From the pop tunes from the ’70s to the 60’s black and white suits and skinny ties, to the 80’s automobiles, Reservoir Dogs may as well take place in some strange parallel universe. A small, offbeat, extremely well-crafted crime caper with terrific surprises sprinkled over top.
Reservoir Dogs may just be the best heist film made in the 90’s
At once a tribute to traditional notions of trust, loyalty, honour, and professionalism, and a stylish, ironic pastiche inspired by the likes of Woo, Peckinpah, Melville, Ringo Lam, Kurosawa and many more, Reservoir Dogs is technically never original but it is raw and a one-of-a-kind, and has since been often imitated. Reservoir Dogs may just be the best heist film made in the ’90s and arguably, Tarantino’s best film.