October 28, 2010

Reservoir Dogs - 1992

Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs Poster
22.5 in. x 34 in.

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Framed   Mounted

Most of the action in Quentin Tarantino's pulp crime movie takes place in a cavernous warehouse, to which the surviving participants of a botched jewelry heist have repaired to lick their wounds. The crooks amuse themselves by accusing each other of treachery (someone tipped off the police), waving their guns, screaming obscenities, and torturing a cop whom one of them has captured. This is, explicitly, a man's world.(There isn't a woman with a speaking part in the movie.)

Tarantino emphasizes the characters' absurdity; they're all presented as demented children, little boys with big guns. He wants us to feel as if we had crash-landed in an alternate universe: the Planet of the Goons. The movie runs on film-school cleverness-a homemade pharmaceutical cocktail of pop music, visual jolts, and allusions to Scorsese and Peckinpah. As supercool young directors go, Tarantino (whose first film this is) is fairly engaging: his nihilism is antic and oddly cheery. But the picture is less than the sum of its outrageous gags and inventive bits of business. The dramatic possibilities of infantile bullies goading each other to violence are sadly limited.

The story is impressively bloody, but the blood is thin, and it keeps leaking out; Tarantino has all he can do to maintain the movie's pulse. The film, for all its mayhem and fury, is too distant to be truly disturbing; it treats everything with an impatient, born-too-late shrug. This is a reasonably lively picture about nothing, and that's apparently just what it was meant to be. With Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Lawrence Tierney, and Chris Penn.

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