Reservoir Dogs (1992) Review

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Genre(s): Crime, Thriller

Runtime: 99 minutes

MPAA Rating: R

IMDb Page

Writer/director Quentin Tarantino made quite the splash in the moviemaking world with his stylish, meta crime-thriller Reservoir Dogs in 1992. It’s a low-budget film, but, thanks to the talent involved, it doesn’t feel like one. The picture’s about a group of criminals trying to determine what went wrong after a jewelry heist of theirs goes South. Is there an undercover cop in their midst?

Along with Pulp Fiction (1994), also directed by Quentin Tarantino, this feature helped introduce the world to a new style of crime-thriller, one that was pop culture-savvy, self-aware, sadistically violent, and cool. The dialogue is foul-mouthed (the Trivia section on this film’s IMDb entry reports two hundred seventy-two uses of “the f-word”) and the carnage is cruel and bloody. The storytelling is non-linear, with numerous flashbacks being effectively used to explain how the characters found themselves in their current predicament.

Tarantino is a writer/director who clearly loves the sound of actors reciting his hip dialogue. This is one of the movie’s biggest strengths and one of its biggest drawbacks. The writing clearly has character, but the end result sometimes feels self-indulgent and talky. Fortunately, Reservoir Dogs has a manageable runtime, so it never becomes truly boring.

Inspired by Hong Kong actioners, this flick sometimes resembles a “heroic bloodshed” film, with all of its two-fisted gunplay and its “Mexican standoffs.” Well, that is, if we cut out the “heroic” part and reduce the amount of action. This influential thriller has distinct characters and satisfactory pacing. I certainly like it, but its meta talkiness sometimes comes across as a tad tacky.

My rating is 7 outta 10.

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