Home Entertainment Reservoir Dogs 25th Anniversary – What we learnt about narrative

Reservoir Dogs 25th Anniversary – What we learnt about narrative


In October 1992, the first major film by Quentin Tarantino was released. Twenty five long years ago, Reservoir Dogs released to critical acclaim. Many regard it as a cult classic, and the popularity of Tarantino’s future work brought people back to this film. But lets hold on a moment, and reminisce about Reservoir Dogs. It’s the Reservoir Dogs 25th Anniversary.

January 21st 1992

Quentin Tarantino and Steve Buscemi feature in an early scene from the Sundance Reservoir Dogs – Imacon Color Scanner

Hold on a moment. That isn’t when this film first released! You would be correct in saying that, however I want to take us back to the Sundance Festival. Almost a year before the film released on the big screen, it was tested at the Sundance Festival.

For those that don’t know it’s basically a place where movies are previewed by critics, directors and actors. According to Tarantino, the first screening was a disaster. Before the climax had finished, the lights came up, and then there was a power outage. Luckily the film did much better on the second day of screening.

Tarantino expected and hoped for people to walk out due to the gruesome nature of the film. However I, like the actors within the film, don’t think it’s even that violent. Sure, there’s blood, but who cares? It was a sure fire success.

October 23rd 1992

Surprisingly, this film only doubled its profits at the box office. I’m genuinely not sure why this is. It baffles me to this day why this film didn’t make a lot more money than it did. Of course Tarantino’s future work provided a streamline into this film, so in the long run it was profitable.

Because the film wasn’t a box office hit it became somewhat of a cult classic. Although critically the film did phenomenally, it just couldn’t rake in as much money as it should have. Notably, Roger Ebert gave the film a 2.5/4, which basically correlates to a 7/10. For me this is one of the greatest films ever made hands down.

Still, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Ebert wasn’t too negative, praising the cast and Tarantino overall. Too right! The vast majority of people all agree that casting choices for this film are perfect.

What interests me to an extent is that there are no feminists that complain about the all male cast of this film. This isn’t me being sexist, but everyone was perfect for their roles. Can you imagine anyone other than Harvey Keitel playing Mr. White? Of course not! It just goes to show that gender diversity does not make a good film.

Cultural impact

There is no denying how amazing an impact this film has had on the world. It threw away traditional genre conventions and replaced them with a genuinely interesting mystery.

The early shining parts of Tarantino can be seen in this film and that’s probably why it’s held in such high regard. An amazing soundtrack, Tarantino’s ability to act and direct. Hell, the casting choices were some of the best. Some people in this film went on to become very frequent collaborators with Tarantio. Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel and Michael Madsen have all appeared in at least two more Tarantino flicks.

But by cultural impact, I should really talk about the general public. That’s what matters right? If the public opinion is behind you then you’re all set to go. Well, it’s not so much a quotable movie, but it’s a film you can get a t-shirt out of. Nobody will greet you and say “I’m Mr. Pink” but it is undeniable how much impact his movie has had on culture as a whole.

The landscape of film most certainly changed because of Reservoir Dogs and it’s clearly evident as to why. There’s no clear hero in this film and that’s one of my favourite things about this film. Everybody featured is a bad guy in some regard, and without spoiling too much, yes I do mean everyone. Including him.

With a now infamous cast, this film has most certainly left its mark on society and the culture of how we make films. Even better, I ordered a t-shirt with the cast on it and it’ll be here very soon! Do yourself a favour, watch this film!

Sarcastic. Pessimist. I write what I think, hopefully you enjoy that.