04 April 2006

reservoir dogs

watched this one again last night while doing some research on a script i'm writing right now that will be set in my studio space. trying to figure out how to write something that basically takes place in one space -- have also watched "dog day afternoon" and "12 angry men", but maybe those also have to do with my continuing love of sidney lumet.

(...speaking of which, is "find me guilty" any good? i want to see it, but haven't gotten around to it.)

so. in terms of the space issues, tarantino set this one up to benefit from the one location by making it add to the claustrophobia. he used long speeches and dialogue and let you sit in them, unsettled. well done.

i was struck with several things. one: the use of irony in the movie. at the very beginning, before the credits, we know nothing. its a bunch of dudes talking at a table. then we are thrust into the narrative full-on with a writhing body and then talk of a hide-out. after a while, mr. pink comes and we find out that it was a heist. fine. then we find out that someone went crazy and killed folks. fine. and on and on like that. one of the great things about this script is that you start on confused, but interested, and tartantino feeds you information bit by bit. by the end, you and every character knows everything, and there's nothing else to do but shoot.

speaking of that beginning part, i was struck by how much it sets up everything. everything. and its a bit of a slight of hand trick, because tarantino does several things simultaneously: he gives the audience some laughs and has his cool monologues about madonna and tipping, but at the same time establishing, mostly through reaction shots or other small ways, the true nature of the characters. watch as buscemi looks annoyed at his empty cup of coffee, setting up his monologue later, as well as his character's hyperactive nature. watch as michael madsen laughs at other people's misfortune. and, most tellingly, watch as, when joe cabot asks who didn't tip, mr. orange is the one who tells. even in that capacity, he is the rat.

finally, i was struck by the sound in the movie. subtle and good use of sound to enchance the story and distract you from the lack of budget. particularly in terms of LOUD gunshots and police sirens and little foley stuff in the torture scene.

sometimes we forget how good tarantino is just because he's so established and entrenched in popular culture. but this dude was great right out of the gate; one of the biggest reasons, as we can see from this movie, is that he's a damn good writer. that's a lesson right there...


Blogger haahnster said...

Great post! It's been way too long since I watched this movie. I need to fit it in this weekend. Great film. Maybe I'll make it a double-feature with Pulp Fiction, which also blows me away. Obviously, Pulp Fiction was done on a much grander scale and larger budget. But, it still comes back down to his writing. The way he manipulates the order in which the audience sees things is quite impressive. In Reservoir Dogs, it's through flashbacks. In Pulp Fiction, it's through the non-linear narrative. Both films are top-notch in my book (not that I know anything, but I do watch a lot of movies).

10:01 AM  
Blogger skirt said...

thanks for some insights into one of my favorite movies. I never watched the first seen with a critical eye. It's interesting to see it a bit through a writer's eyes. Thanks duder. Hope that you are doing well. Got that trampoline yet?

10:08 PM  
Blogger big-cock-suckers said...

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1:01 AM  
Blogger Michelle Ellul-Micallef said...

ive heard so much about this film and never got quite down to watching it... pulp fiction though was quite good :)
ive only recently set up my own site on films but still have tonnes more posts to do. http://www.spotlighton.blogspot.com/

6:53 AM  
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