Black, White and Colourful
Crime boss Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) brings together 6 criminals, all strangers to each other to pull of a diamond heist. Names remain a secret as they all take a colour as an alias and head to do the job. It should have been straight forwards but somehow the cops arrive in the midst of the robbery leading to a shootout with people killed on both sides. As the remaining criminals assemble in a warehouse they begin to suspect one of them is an undercover cop.
Back in the 90s "Reservoir Dogs" was one of the movies which I brought on Laser disc, not having seen it before but purely because the movie lovers I hung with said it was a must watch movie as did many of the professional critics. Well I watched and I watched and I watched it again, in the course of a weekend I watched it three times but only because I couldn't make up my mind over it. All these years later and truth be told I still don't know how I feel about "Reservoir Dogs" as at times I am impressed whilst others I think it is ridiculous and question why so many people, especially those who are just general film watchers think it is so amazing.
To break it down what immediately impressed me about "Reservoir Dogs" during the 90s was Tarantino as a director because in this early movie he was breaking with convention, pushing the boundaries of acceptable whilst bringing his own visual style to the movie. But it is a style which is influenced because Tarantino is a movie lover and from a movie lover's eye you can spot some influences which is mostly kind of nice, a director not ashamed to be paying homage to the directors who have moulded his eye for film. In many ways the strength of "Reservoir Dogs" was that Tarantino gave people something which is familiar yet different and those who watched a lot of movies appreciated this breath of fresh air who was doing things his way and on a reportedly small budget.
But then there is the side of me which says so what, the side of me which is looking to be entertained rather than impressed by someone who knows there films and who wants to break up the rule book. As such the disassembled story which is not told in order is a novelty which does nothing for me. It is the same with scenes which are visually stylish which then when you think about you think that is just stupid, such as the opening scene of the guys eating in a diner looking like they had just attended a Blues Brothers convention, talk about draw attention to yourselves.
Yet here I find myself flip flopping again because "Reservoir Dogs" is all about the characters and whilst the characters do not work for me the performances are good because every character has different aspects. Some of those aspects are cliche, listening to them talk like they were made guys from a Scorsese movie is wrong but the one on one conversations allow the cliche to be lost and then the interesting aspects of the characters come out and the actors get to earn their money.
What this all boils down to is that "Reservoir Dogs" is a movie which in many ways I can appreciate as being different and on some levels being great. But at the same time there are aspects of it which really don't work for me and it means that every time I watch I end up still trying to resolve whether it is a great movie or just one which impressed at the time for being different.