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Reservoir Dogs (1992, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth)



Described by Sight and Sound as: ‘An astute mix of wit and cynicism which washes down its melodramatic excesses with sly satire on the blood-and-guts element of the crime movie, this is a film of acuity and power.’ They weren’t wrong. Reservoir Dogs launched Quentin Tarantino into the position of leading young director of his generation and the film quickly achieved iconic status.

The story Tarantino tells is simple. A gang of crooks is assembled by Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) to carry out the perfect jewellery robbery. From the meeting of the gang in a diner where they spend their time discussing the meaning of Madonna’s Like A Virgin, to each of them being given a false name – Mr Orange (Tim Roth), Mr Brown (Tarantino), Mr White (Harvey Keitel), Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr Blue (Eddie Bunker) – the film leads the viewer from the organisation of the crime to its horrific aftermath.

Somehow, someone told the police what was going to happen and a bloody gunfight broke out, leaving the gang separated, panicked and in some cases horrifically wounded. White drives Orange, who has been shot and is bleeding profusely, back to the gang’s rendezvous – a Los Angeles warehouse – where they wait for the other gang members to arrive. Pink has grabbed the diamonds and suggests that they leave Orange and escape. Joe’s right hand man, Vic (Michael Madsen) then turns up with a policeman (Kirk Baltz) he has taken hostage. While they argue what to do, Tierney’s son, Nice Guy Eddie (Christopher Penn), arrives at his father’s behest to find out what has gone wrong and how to sort out the mess. He’s convinced that there is a traitor in their midst, but is unsure what to do…

While White, Pink and Eddie leave to get rid of the stolen cars, Vic is left with Orange and the police officer. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, Vic decides to torture the cop to the tune of Stuck in the Middle with You, and Orange eventually decides to reveal a secret that he has been keeping – a secret that will lead to a tense and bloody climax…

Throughout the telling of the film in flashback, Tarantino shows how the different relationships between the crooks are forged – how Vic is completely loyal to Joe and Eddie but also completely psychotic; how Pink is a coward to his core; how Orange and White form a strong bond from their mutual pain; and how Orange is duplicitous in his friendships and his profession. All this takes place against a soundtrack of a radio show hosted by Steven Wright and a number of other voices.

production details
USA | 99 minutes | 1992

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Script: Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary,

Harvey Keitel as Mr. White / Larry Dimmick
Tim Roth as Mr. Orange / Freddy Newandyke
Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde / Vic Vega
Chris Penn as “Nice Guy” Eddie Cabot
Steve Buscemi as Mr. Pink
Lawrence Tierney as Joe Cabot
Randy Brooks as Detective Holdaway
Kirk Baltz as Officer Marvin Nash
Edward Bunker as Mr. Blue
Quentin Tarantino as Mr. Brown
Rich Turner as Sheriff #1
David Steen as Sheriff #2
Tony Cosmo as Sheriff #3
Stevo Polyi as Sheriff #4
Michael Sottile as Teddy
Robert Ruth as Shot Cop
Lawrence Bender as Young Cop
Linda Kaye as Shocked Woman
Suzanne Celeste as Shot Woman
Steven Wright as K-Billy DJ (voice)
Laurie Lathem as Background Radio Play (voice)
Maria Strova as Background Radio Play (voice)
Burr Steers as Background Radio Play (voice)
Craig Hamann as Background Radio Play (voice)
Rowland Wafford as Diner Patron (uncredited)