Reservoir Dogs is Quentin Tarantino's 1992 debut as a feature film director. It introduced many of the themes and aesthetics that have become Tarantino's hallmarks -- violent crime; pop culture references; memorable dialogue; and complex, nonlinear stories. more...
It features Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, and Lawrence Tierney. Tarantino has a minor role, as does criminal-turned-author Eddie Bunker.
Tarantino (who had been working as a video store clerk in Los Angeles) was originally going to shoot it with his friends on a budget of $30,000 on 16mm with producer Lawrence Bender playing Nice Guy Eddie. However, actor Harvey Keitel became involved via the wife of Bender's acting class teacher, who had managed to get a copy of the script to him. He agreed not only to act in the film but to co-produce. With Keitel's assistance, the filmmakers were able to raise $1.2 million to make the film, fairly large for an independently-financed film, but a small fraction of the typical Hollywood production.
The movie has since come to be seen as an important and highly-influential milestone of independent filmmaking. Film critic Jami Bernard of New York Daily News said of the film's premier at Sundance: "I don't think people were ready. They didn't know what to make of it. It's like the first silent movie when audiences saw the train coming toward the camera and scattered."
The film portrays the events preceding and immediately following a badly botched Los Angeles jewel heist (but not the actual heist itself) orchestrated by Joe "Daddy" Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) and his son "Nice Guy" Eddie Cabot (Chris Penn). Six men are recruited by the Cabots to carry out the heist and, for reasons of security, are given "color" aliases:
- Mr. White - (Harvey Keitel),
- Mr. Orange - (Tim Roth),
- Mr. Blonde - (Michael Madsen),
- Mr. Pink - (Steve Buscemi),
- Mr. Blue - (Eddie Bunker),
- Mr. Brown - (Quentin Tarantino)
To protect their identities, they are further instructed to never tell one another anything of their personal backgrounds.
Reservoir Dogs begins with Joe, Eddie, Pink, Orange, Brown, Blue, Blonde, and White eating breakfast at a small diner. Mr. Brown at length discusses his interpretation of Madonna's popular song Like a Virgin, after which Mr. Pink expresses his anti-tipping policy, which Mr. White argues with him about.
To the accompaniment of "Little Green Bag" (by the George Baker Selection) the gang, including Joe and "Nice Guy" Eddie Cabot are shown in slow motion walking towards the heist vehicles. Despite obvious homage to the conclusion of Rat Pack favourite Ocean's Eleven, the sequence has become iconic itself, much imitated and provided the basis for the film's poster.
The scene jumps to a car with Mr. White and Mr. Orange immediately following the failed robbery. Mr. Orange has been seriously injured by a gunshot to the lower abdomen, and Mr. White is attempting to comfort him while at the same time trying to navigate the car back to the pre-arranged rendezvous, a disused warehouse.
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