Film Review: Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" (1992)

Figure 1. 'Reservoir Dogs Poster'

Quentin Tarantino’s work usually involves some form of violence, and “Reservoir Dogs” (1992) is not shying away from his style. This mafia-esque film features Tarantino himself starring as one of the main characters of a hitman group on the run from the law. 

Sharp suites and sharp tongues create character for the film and for the actors playing the roles. Despite being outlaws, the film creates empathy towards the “Reservoir Dogs” (1992) as it shows how they have perceived the events within the film. Naturally appearing as outlaws, these colourful character have certainly a colourful vocabulary which in some ways contribute to different events and emotions portrayed. Almar Haflidason notices that, “Many modern directors are too weak and feeble to explore suggested violence. Instead they employ effects-loaded frames of brutality to make their point. Tarantino exploits audience savvy, preferring to build anticipation, mesmerise, and then cut away at the climax, as in the infamous ear-severing scene.” (Haflidason, A. 2000) Subtle hints at violence is a key aspect to what Tarantino envisions his work to be. Implications of events can sometimes be more powerful in creating suspense and fear. 

Figure 2. 'Nice Guy Eddie and his father Walking the Dogs to their job'

As the film is based in the aftermath of an event which is shown through flashbacks, seeing the end results before knowing how that came to be can also draw one’s attention to the dialogue and actions, captivating it’s audience to continue watching to find out what happens. Jeff Dawson states, “Choosing to concentrate on the aftermath, he veers off instead - within the claustrophobic confines of the hideaway and in the context of Real Time - into psychological drama, with the paranoid hoods recounting their own version of events in a bid to determine just who might be the rat in the house responsible for tipping off the cops.” (Dawson, J. N/A) In an effort to emphasise the claustrophobia of how the Dog’s are feeling, he will include shots such as an individual talking and staring into a mirror, perhaps to create that idea of being alone. And to add literal meaning to the term claustrophobic, he also includes trunk shots, where the audience is seeing the scene through the victim’s eyes.

Figure 3. 'Trunk Shot'

What’s interesting about Tarantino’s style is that he strives for the biggest impact to shock and impress his audience, and “Reservoir Dogs” (1992) is an interesting aspect to behold, because Tarantino uses a method such as creating comedic value with the dance where Mr. Blonde moves rhythmically to “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealer’s Wheel, thus relaxing the audience, only to then punch up the fear factor instantly with a sudden torture scene, where Mr. Blonde then cuts the ear off a man. Vincent Canby observes that, “"Reservoir Dogs" moves swiftly and with complete confidence toward a climax that matches "Hamlet's" both in terms of the body count and the sudden, unexpected just desserts. It's a seriously wild ending, and though far from upbeat, it satisfies. Its dimensions are not exactly those of Greek tragedy. "Reservoir Dogs" is skeptically contemporary.” (Canby, V. 1992)

Throughout the experience of watching “Reservoir Dogs” (1992), it is now realised that Tarantino has not only stolen our screens, but has also stolen our minds into the realm that is his extraordinary world of action. A thrilling adventure.


Canby, V. (1992) ‘MOVIE REVIEW: Reservoir Dogs (1992) - Review/Film; A Caper Goes Wrong, Resoundingly’ (23.07.92) In: (1992) [Online] At: (Accessed on 22.04.15)

Dawson, J. (N/A) ‘Reservoir Dogs: Tarantino’s blistering debut’ (N/A) In: (N/A) [Online] At: (Accessed on 22.04.15)

Haflidason, A. (2000) ‘Reservoir Dogs (1992)’ (21.11.00) In: (2000) [Online] At: (Accessed on 22.04.15)


Figure 1. 'Reservoir Dogs Poster' (1992) [Movie Poster] At: (Accessed on 22.04.15)

Figure 2. 'Nice Guy Eddie and his father Walking the Dogs to their job' (1992) [Movie Still] At:!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/gallery_1200/reservoir-dogs.jpg (Accessed on 22.04.15)

Figure 3. 'Trunk Shot' (1992) [Movie Still] At: (Accessed on 22.04.15)


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