Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The One Where I Love Reservoir Dogs, And You Should Too.

I remember seeing Reservoir Dogs like it was yesterday.

TV shows at the time were telling me a young upstart was trying to take Hollywood on, at their own game. An enfant terrible, who had made this shocking, violent film.

Pictures of Tim Roth bleeding like a stuck pig didn’t help, but damn… Reservoir Dogs was cool.

I’m sure to this day the haters, of whom there are many, would put Tarantino up there with Kubrick and Scorsese if he’d stopped there.

As debuts go, it was like a sledgehammer through the Hollywood sign. Move over De Palma, Scorsese, The Coens – there’s a new kid in town.

I can’t claim to have loved Dogs since day one. It was Pulp Fiction that made me love it, but that’s another story.

Dogs suffered for the fact that every one at school loved it. A real turn off for me.

“F- This, F- That”. People were doing impressions. Discussing the ending. (Did he get away?) God, I hated it. Films were meant to be my thing. Here was everyone going on, and on, and on
I even went out of my away to champion films other than Dogs, because I couldn’t take the praise.

Nothing is that good.

But the truth is, on viewing the Bluey recently… Dogs is that good.

It’s pacing is genius. No fat. Everything counts.

When Pulp came out, and you could reassess the only scene I thought did drag, it was brilliant. Vic Vega and Mr Blonde were related? You mean there was a writer out there trying to create a Universe within his films?

I couldn’t contain myself at that. Sure, Kevin Smith started to do the same, but turned it to parody. 

Tarantino was showing that he was thinking about what had gone before. And he was rewarding fans.

On seeing it again, the script just crackles. It’s been parodied itself now – with Tarantino famously saying he was turned off watching a film, where a writer was trying to write dialogue like he did.

Love him or hate him, the script here is brilliant. Not just in its quotability, but in how he structures the film.

It was the first sign of Tarantino messing with bog standard narrative structures, and generally just flicking the V’s. Having worked in a video store, it was obvious from his first effort that he had an encyclopaedic knowledge of film.

References to Kubrick, and City On Fire, would later have people accuse Tarantino of being a magpie – just pinching other people’s ideas.

That riles me more than any other criticism.

To suggest that no one else out there does the same is patronising beyond words.

Did Kubrick not have influences? Peers? 

Did Spielberg never take ideas from what was going on around him?

With Tarantino, it was a cheap shot.

This young kid had invented a crime film, out of nothing. So iconic, so cool, that within days it changed how crime films were made.

Making a bank robbery film with out showing the bank robbery?
Ha. Why not.

I think that Dogs stands up to this day. It is a towering achievement. One of the best debits ever. That it influenced a whole flux of crime films, some terrible, is not Tarantinos fault.

That it stylised violence, and had a foul mouth, is his fault – but film at the time really needed that.

Films had become safe. What Tarantino had done was created this perfect ninety-minute movie – with a soundtrack your Dad would buy. Even your Mum would tap her toe too it. Mine did.

What’s this song from? I like it.

Oh. It’s the debut film from that young upstart. The sweary one. The one with the atrocious ear-cutting scene. The most graphic scene in years. You know the one.  That you don’t actually see. But you cover your eyes, anyway.