Monday, 14 February 2011

The Cutting Edge - Reservoir Dogs

Fig 1.

Reservoir Dogs

Director - Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino's debut about a jewellery heist gone wrong due to the introduction of an under cover cop. It starts off with 8 organised criminals (Reservoir Dogs) in a diner eating breakfast that are discussing the meaning of like "a virgin" and the social dos and don'ts associated with tipping in restaurants. For the rest of the film it revolves in a nonlinear fashion skipping from before and after the heist, but never is the heist itself seen on screen. There's a climatic end as the characters start to lose trust between each other and a Mexican stand off seals the fate of the Dogs.

Fig 2.

This film really hit a nerve with the media when it was originally released on the cinema and very nearly didn't make it to video in the U.K. due to its torture scene which interesting enough is more suggestive. When a Mr Blond is cutting off the policeman’s ears the camera cleverly pans away to focus on a wall while we only hear what is going on. BCC describes the scene "Somehow it's horribly effective and lingers far longer than the usual point blank bloodshed that seems compulsory in other movies." Interestingly although you don't see the ear being cut off it's the one scene which plays on your mind and makes you feel quite repelled at the sadistic nature of Mr Blond.

Fig 3.

For most part (as in most Tarantino films) it's all about the dialogue. The naturalistic conversations that play no part in the plot but help us get to know the characters, feel sympathy for some and repulsion for others. Although the ultra violence seems to play a big part in the film in reality it doesn't drive it. Empire Magazine says it's "Seminal, in terms of its discursive dialogue, bursts of ultra-violence and unsettling machismo, Reservoir Dogs still seems groundbreaking." True it is ground breaking in many ways if not just for the nonlinear story telling but also for the interest and realism give to the characters. This it was put Tarantino out there and the film industry must be very glad this film got made as it opened the way for Tarantino to make more master pieces. Variety agrees that it’s "A show-off piece of filmmaking that will put debut writer-director Quentin Tarantino on the map." and that it did.


Reservoir Dogs, BBC, 2000, [Online] avaliable at [Accessed 14 February 2011]

Reservoir Dogs, Empire Magazine, [Online] avaliable at [Accessed 14 February 2011]

Reservoir Dogs, Variety, 1992, [Online] avaliable at [Accessed 14 February 2011]

Image Bibliography

Fig 1. Reservoir Dogs, DVD cover, 1992 [photography],,0,214,317_.jpg

Fig 2. Reservoir Dogs, Movie Still, 1992 [photography],

Fig 3. Reservoir Dogs, Movie Still, 1992 [photography],

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