While Pulp Fiction shoved writer and director Quentin Tarantino into the national pop culture consciousness, it was his first major motion picture that really established his moviemaking style that would break out just a couple of years later. It’s hard to believe, but 25 years ago today, RESERVOIR DOGS got a limited release in theaters.
The story of a group of criminals gathered together to pull a heist and steal some diamonds, Reservoir Dogs draws you in with its engaging dialogue and the amazing soundtrack – something Tarantino would perfect with Pulp Fiction. The six criminals, brought together by Joe Cabot, played by Lawrence Tierney, are only identified by a predetermined color, whether they like the color choice or not. The crew includes Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr. Blue (Eddie Bunker), Mr. Brown (Tarantino himself) and Mr. Orange (Tim Roth).
It really is a fantastic cast, considering that no one knew who Tarantino was at this point.
Reservoir Dogs is less about the heist than the aftermath of when it all goes wrong. With Brown and Blue dead, the remaining guys head back to a hideout, they begin to question whether the police were tipped off and, more importantly, who did it?
Because the audience knows who the informant is, the drama builds as he gets closer to one of his partners, who defends him almost to the end. The performances from Keitel, Roth and Buscemi are iconic, and probably helped to define their careers over the last quarter-century. Madsen’s turn as the psychotic Mr. Blonde is pretty frightening.
According to IMDb’s trivia, Madsen abhors violence and had trouble filming the torture scene. Which makes sense, because I know more than a few people who have trouble getting through watching it.
The movie’s opening scene will also go down as maybe one of the best opening conversations ever featured in a movie, in my opinion.
What a great flick. In fact, I think I enjoy Reservoir Dogs more than Pulp Fiction. There, I said it. Come at me.