Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Reservoir Dogs directed by Quentin Tarantino

  The film has a non - linear narrative, spiralling in different directions and slowly coming together at the end. The viewer is first introduced to the characters in a breakfast scene before the theft attempt, then shows Mr Orange bleeding to death wanting to be dropped off at a hospital but Mr White takes him to the warehouse which is the meeting spot for the rest of the gang to meet. Then the introduction of Mr Pink goes to a flashback where he is trying to escape and then back to the warehouse. "He also makes hugely imaginative use of flashbacks, explaining the origins of  certain characters, and even showing scenes of "fictional" stories that never took place (such as Tim Roth's men's room story.)" (Anderson, 2011) The evidence suggests how the flash backs fill in the back story so that the audience can slowly build up the relationship between the characters and how they have come to be in the situation and they would resolve. Mr Orange's account of the men's room scene is actually false to make his cover as one of the gang believable as he needed a way in. Some of the flashbacks also explained trust that existed between some of the characters, for example Nice Guy Eddie and Mr Blonde, who broke Eddie out of jail and there is a level of respect and loyalty ever since.

Figure 1, (2011), Reservoir Dogs still of characters meeting and given assignment

The change in camera angles also helped to make the story clear, one example is the scene where Mr Blond is torturing the young cop hostage and just poured the gasoline over him there is a sound of a gunshot. The audience doesn't known where the shot originated until the camera gradually zooms out to reveal it was Mr Orange, where he goes onto explain that he is an undercover cop. This technique was also used for Mr Blond's arrival in the scene where Mr Pink and Mr White are fighting over blame for the person who set the gang up, the camera zooms out to reveal third person in the shadows before he becomes included in the dialogue. In the stand off scene the camera focuses on close up shots of Mr White, Joe and Eddie as they train their guns on each other, the build up in this moment is intense because the audience knows what will happen but the film has made the characters build up their confidence before they fire on each other so that it was realistic. There is an unusual shot when Mr Orange meets the policeman in the cafe because it begins with a medium shot showing them approaching towards each other but then the camera cuts to an outside shot looking through the window as if the viewer is looking through the outside and that something is going to happen until it cuts back inside.

Figure 2, (1999), Reservoir Dogs still of stand off scene

The story mainly centres around Mr Orange who is mostly on the floor of the warehouse dying from loss of blood. He was the character who tipped off the cops as he reveals to the tortured cop after shooting Mr Blond but he already knew. This scene seemed to benefit the audience more so they could understand the change of role. It also surrounds the growing trust and friendship between Mr Orange and Mr White, particularly in the scene where Joe discovers that Mr Orange is the one who tipped off the cops and aims the gun at him but Mr White steps in, to defend him from these accusations believing he wouldn't betray him. However in the final scene, Mr Orange reveals the truth and this changes the atmosphere between the two characters as Mr White starts to aim the gun at his head. "Tarantino, in Reservoir Dogs, has made a nihilist comedy about how human nature will always undercut the best-laid plans. In the end, these wily thieves my want to trust one another, but trust is the one thing they can't have." (Burr, 2011) The quote indicates how the balance of loyalty and friendship shifts because they are on longer able to trust each other until they discover the culprit is and this drives a wedge with the character's that build on trust as the story processes and their back stories.

Figure 3, (1999), Reservoir Dogs still of end

Tarantino also takes the audience to some dark places in this film because a viewer would see Mr Blond in the beginning scenes as laid back and calm in tight situation but the viewer's perception changes in the torture scene. Mr Blond explains how he likes to torture people and doesn't care if he doesn't have the necessary information, he then plays Stuck in the Middle with you which matched the scene as he seems to let a psychopathic side take over. There is a montage sequence as Mr Blond takes the razor to cut off the young policeman's ear and then getting a tank of gasoline attempting to set the policeman alight, the entire scene reveals that this character has no limits he would not cross in order for his own humour and satisfaction. "...takes on new dimensions and gravity as it seizes hold of all your vital organs, taking hostage of your senses and daring you to keep your attention focussed on the images before you." (Jardine, 2011) The evidence indicates the point of view of the audience as scenes such as the torture takes a viewer further into the possibilities of where a story might go but also gripping their attention because it is a place that the audience didn't expected to be taken. The words 'hold of all your vital organs, taking hostage of your senses' implies how the sequence grips a viewer's attention and feel the breathing rate slow down as they have to let the scene play out to know the outcome.

 Figure 4, (2010), Reservoir Dogs still of Mr Blond torturing policeman

Figure 5, (1999), Reservoir Dogs still of Mr Orange slowly bleeding to death


Figure 1, (2011), Reservoir Dogs still of characters meeting and given assignment, @ http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1800179562/photo/542680, Accessed on: 2011

Figure 2, (1999), Reservoir Dogs still of stand off scene, @ http://www.tarantino.info/wiki/index.php/File:RD_dvd04.jpg, Accessed on: 13th June 2008

Figure 3, (1999), Reservoir Dogs still of end, @ http://www.tarantino.info/wiki/index.php/File:RD_dvd04.jpg, Accessed on: 13th June 2008

Figure 4, (2010), Reservoir Dogs still of Mr Blond torturing policeman, @ http://www.movies.kngine.com/person.ashx?id=IA:0153903&tab=Photos, Accessed on: 2010

Figure 5, (1999), Reservoir Dogs still of Mr Orange slowly bleeding to death, @ http://www.tarantino.info/wiki/index.php/File:RD_dvd04.jpg, Accessed on: 13th June 2008


Anderson Jeffrey, (2011), Combustible Celluloid - Reservoir Dogs, @ http://www.combustiblecelluloid.com/classic/reservoir.shtml, Accessed on: 4th February 2006

Burr Ty, (2011), EW.com - Reservoir Dogs, @ http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,312190,00.html, Accessed on: 27th February 2007

Jardine Dan, (2011), Cinemania - movie reviews among other things, @ http://djardine.blogspot.com/2004_03_07_djardine_archive.html, Accessed on: 9th March 2004

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