Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Reservoir Dogs


Quentin Tarantino arrived on the scene with a very bloody bang in this, his first film as director. In the very first scene he establishes something that I see in every one of his films. That is, no one writes dialogue like Tarantino. {No}} one. He has his group of thugs sitting around a big table, eating breakfast, and what do they talk about? The robbery they are planning? No, they talk about the ethics of tipping. Steve Buscemi is adamantly opposed to it, all the others take the side of the waitress. It’s hilarious.

Then another Tarantino trademark, a quick cut to several days later. And what do we see? The robbery? No, we see Tim Roth in the back seat of a speeding car, gut-shot, screaming his lungs out, swimming in blood. Something has gone badly wrong, but we haven’t seen it. After that we’re in for a wild ride with another Tarantino trope: skipping around in time, revealing a little more with each flashback. We never do see the robbery itself, only the disastrous things that happened after they leave the place where all the diamonds were. Then the rest of the movie plays out in the nearly empty warehouse of a funeral home, with coffins standing on end and the rear end of a hearse. Here the last of the Tarantino flashes of brilliance plays out, and that is the sudden, unexpected, and shocking incidents of violence. You never know where a Tarantino film is going. Never. That is so rare in the movies that I have to say that I think he may be the best writer-director working today (his only real competition being the Coen Brothers), in spite of the fact that he always comes off as an asshole when he appears in person. Me, I’m willing to tolerate a lot of assholeness if someone can make amazing movies like this.