Thomas McCallum’s review published on Letterboxd:
Performances : 7.4/10
Story : 8.5/10
Production : 8.3/10
Overall : 8.07/10
I'm part of a secret society. I'm probably going to be run out of the room at our next meeting for talking about this but I just have to get it out...I think Reservoir Dogs is a much better film than Pulp Fiction in pretty much every way.
Actually I have no idea if that's even a minority opinion, I just thought I'd play it up. The fact is Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino's debut feature length film, does (on a minuscule budget) what most blockbusters these days should really be aiming to do. It takes the individual dramas of seven separate men and turns those into one of the most riveting crime drams of its decade. No explosions and no CGI are needed because neither are seriously necessary for a good film. I'm not sure that any of this is really relevant to Reservoir Dogs' stand-alone status as a film, I guess I just wish that the people in charge of getting films made these days would give a shit about what this movie essentially proves - that you don't need a big budget or big effects to make a fantastic movie.
Don't get me wrong, the fact that it was made by a rookie director is occasionally obvious. Some of the performances are kind of average aside from Harvey Keitel and Michael Madsen, who seriously took everyone else on their back and walked away with the film. For the record, I couldn't picture anyone else in the role of Mr. White. The film is also a little rough around the edges, I don't know how else to describe it. It's just that some of the shots seem shaky when they probably shouldn't be and some of the set pieces might not work in the way they were intended. I can't really begrudge any of that though, since it only actually adds to the gritty drama that unfolds throughout the film.
For all the moments Tarantino shows that he's just getting his footing there are plenty more where he's showing flashes of his own little devices that we all eventually became accustomed to. There's the method of story telling he uses and a few small visual tricks he employs but most of all it's the love affair that he seems to have with violence. It's that part of his style that we all love (even if you won't admit it, you prude). It's what keeps us coming back. Admit it, we all want to see what this crazy asshole will do next. It's always great and it's always bloody.
Reservoir Dogs is a great way to remember that before Django blew up Stephen, before Aldo Raine was carving swastikas in everything that wasn't nailed down and before Beatrix Kiddo carved up the Crazy 88 there was a poor, seriously unlucky cop getting his ear hacked off by Mr. Blonde. That scene has been burned in my head since I first saw this movie. That was almost ten years ago. That's glorious.