Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs ★★★★★

Quentin Tarantino's feature film debut is an ingeniously directed, deftly scripted & strongly performed cinema that didn't just commence his filmmaking career on a spectacular note but also had a profound impact on the independent cinema landscape, for the sharpness of its dialogues, the rich set of characters it packs in & the remarkable use of humour in most gruesome moments are some of the many elements that have gone on to inspire countless flicks over the years and has turned this instant classic into an influential one.

The story of Reservoir Dogs finds six criminals, who are complete strangers to each other, brought together under one roof by a crime boss to pull off a diamond heist. But when the robbery goes awry, resulting in some casualties, the remaining survivors begin to suspect that one of them is an undercover cop. With tension running high in the group and one of their own bleeding to death, they try to figure out who sold them out while also coming up with a plan for what to do with the stolen stash, unbeknownst to them that the mole is still around.

Written & directed by Quentin Tarantino, Reservoir Dogs is one of the strongest debuts any filmmaker has ever had and finds Tarantino playing with storytelling aspects to carve out his own distinctive narrative style. A marvellous feat of originality, the film borrows different elements from different movies yet blends them together in a manner that bears Tarantino's signature all over it. His writing is possibly even better for everything about it, be it the plot progression, character developments, non-linear narration, numerous pop culture references or clever use of wit, it all gels with each other quite seamlessly.

Despite being shot on a modest budget, the technical aspects are no slouch in this feature. Production team does a good enough job to accommodate all the set pieces into minimum locations. Cinematography exhibits some new, innovative tricks to capture every sequence and makes some exquisite use of camera angles, long takes & panning shots while Editing is another highlight that provides its non-linear narrative a really smooth flow & consistent pace. The film features no background music but it makes wonderful use of existing tracks that are seamlessly incorporated into scenes that are most unlikely to work with them yet it all just fits.

Coming to the performances, Reservoir Dogs features a terrific ensemble in Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn & Laurence Tierney with a few more people appearing in brief roles, including Tarantino himself as Mr. Brown. Keitel & Roth are the centrepieces of this story and both deliver flawless performances in their given roles of Mr. White & Mr. Orange respectively. Madsen plays Mr. Blonde with a calm demeanour that nicely masks his inner psychopath. Buscemi is an absolute delight as Mr. Pink and handles his character like a professional while Tierney & Penn have their own moments to shine as the crime lord & his son, respectively.

On an overall scale, Reservoir Dogs is one of the greatest achievements of indie filmmaking which, even after two decades, remains one of Tarantino's finest efforts. From the opening moment that finds this gang providing their analysis of Madonna's "Like a Virgin", Reservoir Dogs casts a spell on its audience whose effect is felt long after the story has concluded on the screen. An original, inventive & ageless masterpiece that's bursting with a reinvigorating passion and is also notable for launching the careers of many, best of them being Tarantino himself who in the following years would go on to script an unmatched legacy of his own, Reservoir Dogs is a milestone of gripping, clever & quality storytelling. A must watch for all.

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