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Reservoir Dogs

Five Total Strangers Team Up For The Perfect Crime. They Don't Know Each Other's Name. But They've Got Each Other's Number. 

Year: 1992 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Reservoir Dogs

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Lawrence Tierney, Steve Buscemi

Unlike most films of this day and age, this legendary film succeeded in creating the level of hype most films struggle to justify and deservedly so. This shocking, stylish yet perversely amusing masterpiece, the confident directorial debut of marvel movie-maker Quentin Tarantino, is just as worthy of such a comment now as on original release.

Penned whilst Tarantino was working in a video shop, Reservoir Dogs follows the jumbled story of sting boss Joe (Tierney) who, along with his son, recruits a motley crew of robbers for a diamond heist in downtown Los Angles. The difference here, however, is that Joe doesn't want the gang members to know anything about each other for fear of having a rat in the midst, so each person is assigned a colour-coded pseudonym. The plan is supposed to develop trust, but instead there are problems and trust is the last thing on anybody's mind. Like the highly acclaimed Pulp Fiction, this nineties' classic is especially effective because of its narrative devices, so it is probably fairer to now bring this synopsis to a close. But rest assured, the plot is full to bursting of quirky laughs, smart dialogue, clever story twists and undoubtedly bloodthirsty violence. The infamous nerve wracking ear severing scene for instance will push you so close to the edge of your seat you're likely to fall off. Indeed, don't be put off that most of the film takes place in a warehouse, for the building anticipation throughout the movie will spellbind you.

Still, this story isn't just about bloody mayhem. There is also a lot of concentration on gaining an insight into the characters and developing relationships between clashing personalities. Certainly, each criminal is very different, from the whiny Mr Pink (Buscemi) who resents his assigned name, to the psychotic Mr Blonde (Madsen) and professional Mr White (Keitel). So Reservoir Dogs is very much about friendship and loyalty, albeit wrapped in the themes of total carnage and crime; with Tarantino's genius compilation and direction, this film has to be at the top of any serious movie lover's list of favourites.

Laura Sparshot

Five thieves are hired for one robbery. It's simple. Go in, keep the customers quiet, grab the jewels, get out, run like hell for the rendezvous. But it all goes wrong. One of them goes nuts and starts shooting people. And the cops get there too fast. Way too fast. Everybody scatters, and four of them make it, one by one, back to the rendezvous. And then they begin to ask the question: who sold them out?

Hey, but we didn't come in there. No, it starts with having coffee before the heist. Then you get some cool music. Then you come in after the heist and one guy's a bloody mess, and the other's trying to convince him that he isn't going to die, and then somebody else turns up, and then you start to find out what happened during the raid. You get the picture? It's a cool way to do a movie. Start somewhere in the middle and give out bits and pieces of information, then extended sketches of the chatacters, and the audience work it out as they go along. Sure, there's all that violence, but a lot less than in your average Schwarzenegger film. The violence is just part of the characters that this is about. Who are these guys who got hired for the heist? They don't know. They've all got colour coded names - Mr. White, Mr. Blue, Mr. Orange, and so on. Who they are underneath those names and the identical suits and the identical guns is what the movie sets out to tell you.

'Let's go to work'

Quentin Tarantino's film is about as memorable a debut as you're ever going to get. This film took all the elements of a Hollywood thriller and stuck them back together in a way that make all those tired ideas interesting and new again, and everyone sat up and took notice (not least that its already made a profit of more than twenty times what it cost to make). We're showing it again by popular demand. Be prepared for a full cinema.

Paul Hardy.

I don't really think this film needs a review, let's face it, it sells itself. The mere mention of a Tarantino film fills any cinema to capacity, but for those of you who haven't caught on yet....

Reservoir Dogs is the story of a diamond robbery that doesn't quite go to plan. One man and his son set up the job for six men to pull off, so six men are chosen, given colour coded names and sent out to commit the perfect crime. Except it all goes wrong. Mr Blonde (Madsen) turns it into a bullet fest, Mr Orange (Roth) gets shot in the belly and, with help from Mr White (Keitel), makes it back to the rendezvous with all the other surviving robbers. After assessing the situation and chopping a cop's ear off, they realise they have a rat in the house. But who? And why? Welcome to the rollercoaster ride that is Tarantino's debut film, and probably the most memorable debut you'll ever see.

The hype started way before its cinema release in 1992, and it's still being talked about today. It's not just the damn good story, or the brilliant acting, but the way Tarantino has taken all the parts of a Blockbusting movie, shuffled them up, and put them back together in a completely new and exciting way, giving the film an impressive edge over all the others.

Tarantino's direction is superb. He uses the full width of each frame to show all the necessary action and detail. Don't put up with the chopped up versions on the TV - experience the film as it was intended to be seen. See it on a screen over twice the width of your telly.

The film also features a soundtrack that you are bound to have heard before, making you leave the theatre humming Little Green Bag and Stuck in the Middle With You.

If you haven't seen it yet, see it. If you have, see it again.

Samantha Bell and Phil Brown

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Screenings of this film:

1992/1993 Summer Term (35mm)
1992/1993 Summer Term (35mm)
1992/1993 Summer Term (35mm)
1992/1993 Summer Term (35mm)
1993/1994 Spring Term (16mm)
1993/1994 Summer Term (35mm)
1993/1994 Summer Term (35mm)
1994/1995 Spring Term (35mm)
1995/1996 Autumn Term (35mm)
1996/1997 Autumn Term (35mm)
1997/1998 Summer Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Autumn Term (35mm)
2006/2007 Autumn Term (35mm)
2007/2008 Autumn Term (35mm)
2013/2014 Spring Term (digital)