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October 03, 2009

Reservoir Dogs (Classic Film Pick)

Reservoir-dogs-poster In 1992 Quentin Tarantino did something that hadn't been done since 1986 with David Lynch's "Blue Velvet;" he reinvented cinema. A deft application of an originally voiced time-flipping narrative, Tarantino's "action" script is a filmic illusion that Hitchcock or Welles would applaud. The main conceit of Tarantino's bank heist story is that the film's "action" occurs after the heist, with well-constructed flashback sequences and monologues to impose an emotional undercurrent of back-story. Each of the six black-suited robbers is known to the others only by his color coded pseudonym. Eddie Bunker plays Mr. Blue, Tarantino is the chatty Mr. Brown, Harvey Keitel is Mr. White, and Steve Buscemi is Mr. Pink. Suffering from a belly gunshot wound sustained during the heist, Mr. Orange (perfectly played by Tim Roth) is an undercover cop sincerely befriended by Keitel's character. Left bleeding in the gang's where house, Mr. Orange witnesses the psychotic Mr. Blonde (manically played by Michael Madsen) torturing a young cop named Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz) to the funky lyrical strains of "Stuck in the Middle With You (Stealers Wheel). Tarantino doesn't just sucker punch his unsuspecting audience in the solar plexus; he goes for the heart and groin as well. "Reservoir Dogs" is a flawlessly conceived concept film that's theatrical in nature, with a bit of Grand Guignol thrown in for dramatic effect. The film created a sub-genre of crime suspense copycats, of which Troy Duffy's "The Boondock Saints" (1999) is one of the most embarrassing examples. Over his career, Tarantino's films have proven everything that "Reservoir Dogs" seemed to promise and still achieves. Freshness.


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