I'm going to torture you anyway"
Six perfect strangers, each even a phoney name, are brought
together to pull off the perfect diamond heist but when things don't go
to plan as they are ambushed by the police. Returning to the rendezvous
point, the surviving members try and figure out what went wrong. Mr Pink
(Buscemi) is sure an undercover cop has infiltrated the crew and Mr Blonde
(Madsen) is going to torture a cop he captured until he reveals who the
Once in a while a film comes along that has a ripple effect
on the world of cinema, changing the way we view a genre forever. Reservoir
Dogs was one of those movies.
At a time when American independent cinema was fighting a
losing battle against the Hollywood machine, Reservoir Dogs ignited the
fuse and then blew everything else away. Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece
reinvented the crime genre for the 1990s and went onto influence a slue
of wannabe imitations. His riveting dialogue, blistering realistic action
and his ability to coax the best out of his actors instantly propelled him
to the echelons of moviemaking greatness and this was only Tarantino's debut
Throwing away normal cinematic conventions such as a chronological
timeline by revealing plotlines and subsequent connotations as he saw fit,
the viewer was exposed to a realistic world where characters talked about
other things than just the plot and the job at hand, making you feel more
like a witness or voyeur to what was unfolding around you. By jumping around
in time, Tarantino reveals only what he wants you to know, making it feel
like someone is recounting a story and getting ahead of themselves by telling
you about major points before you have any kind of backstory. This technique
just drew you into the film.
As Tarantino re-invented the crime genre for the 90s with
his writing and shooting style, he also showed that he was an actor's director.
Reservoir Dogs has a fantastic ensemble that consists of some of the best
character actors of their generation. Harvey Keitel was an already established
actor with a fantastic reputation of working with directors that would go
on to be considered greats. As he did with Martin Scorsese in Mean Streets
and Ridley Scott in The Duellists, he got to work with a director that was
setting out on the road to an amazing career and he delivered a performance
to match that talent. As Mr White, Keitel makes truly evil man into a sympathetic
character as he goes out on a limb to support what he thinks is right, only
to discover that everything he believed in is a lie. This is Keitel as his
very best in a role that he will be long remembered for.
For character actors Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn and
Michael Madsen, Reservoir Dogs was a breakout film for all of them. Tim
Roth excelled as Mr Orange as he conveyed the agony that the character was
going through as well as nailing a completely believable American accent.
This is the role that got Roth noticed in the US. Steve Buscemi's portrayal
of Mr Pink is another highlight. He has cornered the market when it comes
to irritating, kinda funny looking characters and this is no exception.
Mr Pink is probably the most annoying character in the movie but he is also
the only one still acting professionally and Buscemi plays this kind of
role superbly. Chris Penn is Nice Guy Eddie and you cannot envisage anyone
else playing that role. As the character struggles to find out what has
gone wrong with the plan, Penn comes into his own during the climatic face
off, screaming at Mr White. The actor who makes the most impact and the
character who the film is remember for is Michael Madsen's Mr Blonde. This
unemotional and incredibly cruel S.O.B. is an iconic figure in the villainy
hall of fame. As soon as he utter the words "I'm going to torture you anyway",
you know he means business and the cop is going to die a terrible and extremely
painful death. This is all due to Madsen's sheer screen presence as he can
convey menace in just a look.
There is also good support from Lawrence Tierney as Joe Cabot,
Eddie Bunker as Mr Blue, Kirk Baltz as the cop hostage and Quentin Tarantino
himself as Mr Brown.
Reservoir Dogs in a classic that redefined a genre. Uncompromisingly
violent but not to the point of glorification, this is a realistic, heart
thumping, adrenalin ride that grabs you, beats you up and leaves you spitting
blood from the sheer trauma of the experience. If fact what is considered
its most disturbing and violent scene is all in your own imagination and
is testament to Tarantino's unquestionable skill as one of the most talented
filmmakers of any generation.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
sound, the picture and sound quality are extremely good for a low budget
feature. The picture quality is sharp throughout with even the energetic
camera movements leading to no pixelation at all. The sound quality is
also first rate as it emphasises the dialogue and also fills the speakers
as K-Billy's Super Sounds of the 70s play.
Audio Commentary from Director Quentin Tarantino, Producer Lawrence
Bender, Executive Producer Monte Hellman, Director of Photography Andrzej
Sekula, Editor Sally Menke and actors Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Michael Madsen
and Kirk Baltz
Not really a true commentary track but a collection of reflections
or interviews with the cast and crew about certain scenes in the movie.
Quentin Tarantino's comments are so passionate for the material as you'd
expect for a writer/director with the highlight been when he describes
the famous torture scene. Lawrence Bender provides some interesting insights
into the making of the film and executive producer Monte Hellman reveals
that he would have shot the movie completely differently. The track is
OK but it would have been a lot better if Tarantino and the rest of the
crew would have been in the same room watching the movie.
Your chance to watch the original 1992 theatrical trailer for Reservoir
Original Interviews (54.57 mins)
Director Quentin Tarantino, Producer Lawrence Bender and stars Tim Roth,
Chris Penn, Michael Madsen and Kirk Baltz appear in their own themed interviews.
Each of them talk about the movie and what it meant to them, revealing
some tasting behind the scenes information at the same time. Michael Madsen
discusses the much touted Vega Boys project, Lawrence Bender reveals his
cameo in the film, Tim Roth explains why he doesn't read in auditions
and Quentin Tarantino explains how Harvey Keitel got involved in the project
and how he writes a script.
Film Noir Files (19.02 mins)
Mike Hodges, Robert Polito, John Boorman, Donald Westlake and Stephen
Frears talk about the Film Noir classics that influenced Reservoir Dogs.
Covering "The Killing" (1950s), "Point Blank" (1960s), "Get Carter" (1970s)
and "The Hit" and "The Grifters" (1980s) the group discuss the importance
of each film and aspects such as dialogue, which made the film such classic
examples of Film Noir.
Deleted Scenes (12.32 mins)
Entitled "Background check", "No Problem", "Doing my Job" and "Cutting
off the Ear version A & B", some of these deleted scenes could have added
to the movie. The first two show more of the relationship between Freddy
(Mr Orange) and his handler, giving you more background. The most interesting
scenes are the more graphic cutting off of the ear. You can see that Tarantino
made the correct decision in choosing not to show the act.
Class of 1992 (28.29 mins)
Filmmakers Alex Rockwell, Chris Münch, Kate Shae, Tom Kalin and Quentin
Tarantino discuss their memories of the 1992 Sundance Film Festival and
how important it was to American independent film. They talk about how
"In the Soup", "The Hours and Times", "Poison Ivy", "Swoon" and "Reservoir
Dogs" influenced the independent film movement in the US and how the success
of these films reopened Hollywood's eyes to low budget, character driven
Sundance Institute's Filmmaker's Lab: Scenes from Reservoir Dogs (11.39
Steve Buscemi and Quentin Tarantino re-enact two key scenes from Reservoir
Dogs, Mr White meets with Joe and Mr Pink reveals his theory to Mr White.
This shows that Quentin is actually a very good actor.
Securing the shot: Location Scouting with Billy Fox (4.21 mins)
Location manager Billy Fox reveals the secrets of the different buildings
used in the production. From the famous warehouse to the Bar where they
meet Mr Orange for the first time, Billy Fox offers an interesting insight
into location scouting.
Tributes and Dedications (51.46 mins)
A dedication to the late, great Lawrence Tierney (Joe Cabot), the cast
and crew talk passionately about the man and what he meant to them. This
includes a great story about how he first met Lawrence and he invited
himself to a barbeque at Chris's house. Eddie Bunker talks about his life,
both on and off the big screen as he drives around Hollywood. Quentin
Tarantino talks about his script dedications and how each of them influenced
the writing of the movie. Monte Hellman, Jack Hill, Pam Grier and Roger
Corman discuss low budget filmmaking and how they influenced Quentin Tarantino
to work on Reservoir Dogs.
the best parts from the 10th Anniversary US DVD release, this is a well-presented
package and a must for any Region 2 Reservoir Dogs fans. The commentary
track might not be the best but it still offers some interesting insights
into the film. The very film studies oriented featurettes are interest
but it would have been good if more about the actual making of the movie
and some more behind the scenes footage. The picture and sound quality
of the transfer are first rate however, making this the best version of
this classic movie yet.
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