Thursday, January 06, 2011

Reservoir Dogs

There's just one more Tarantino movie on my list, Jackie Brown, but there'll be a couple of others in between first, so this is the last one for a while.

While I couldn't really see what about Pulp Fiction made it a great movie, I can definitely see it in Reservoir Dogs. This is a very impressively made film. The plotting is well done with the story peeling back layers through non-linear storytelling and character exploration, building tension through spacing out the revelations. You can see, if you stop to look for it, lots of well-used techniques in the camera angles, set dressing, intonation and acting, and music, to guide the experience and build up the appropriate reactions in the audience, but while you're watching it you can also easily not notice those things and be taken along on the ride. And it's all done on a tiny budget, with a small cast, and most of the action happening in a single, very austere room.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I enjoyed the movie itself. But I will say that there were times when I was reluctant to pause and wait for my next chance to watch, because I wanted to see how things would come out. Most striking of these was what I think was perhaps the best scene: Mr. Orange's backstory, as his tale weaves between several perspectives, first person, third person, and mixing up the story with its own telling. Tim Roth did a great job with it, too. But even Mr. Blonde's big scene, which was pretty unrelentingly awful, was also gripping -- even though I didn't anticipate any kind of ending that wouldn't make me sick, I still wanted to see how it would end.

But for all that, and for all my appreciation for the craftsmanship, I can't say I enjoyed the story. It was a very well told version of a story I just didn't really want to be told. I don't regret seeing it, but I don't think I need to see it again.

1 comment:

litlfrog said...

FWIW, that's how I feel about Reservoir Dogs as well.