It must have been amazing to see Tarantino's debut film back in 1992. It doesn't happen often to see such a raw display of talent in a director's first film, but Reservoir Dogs exudes brilliance and energy at every corner. Right off the bat we are treated with Tarantino's trademark, intelligent and hilarious dialogue, that despite its careful planning comes off as naturalistic and entirely fitting to the characters, something I frankly miss in his movies today. The opening diner scene sets the mood perfectly and introduces us to the characters, all of which are diverse and unique. Plus, Quentin shows that he isn't always horrible in his acting roles.
We cut to a scene that is towards the end of the story, two of the characters are in a car, one of which is screaming in pain of his recent gunshot wound to the guts. The entire backseat is drenched in his blood and the scene hits pretty hard in its realism. Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth pull it off wonderfully and completely convince. It is now clear that this is not an ordinary film, as it's not put together chronologically. The order of events is jumbled, enough to be refreshing and not too much to be confusing; it's done just right.
As we get to the warehouse the film really takes off as we are delighted, once again, with fantastic writing and the adequate performances from the likes of Keitel, Buscemi, Roth and Madsen, who for once is staggeringly good.
Through the use of flashbacks and title cards the film one by one shows us the backstory of what was a botched up jewel store robbery. Its use of this storytelling device may not be new, but the way it is implemented is exciting and plays off of the events happening in the present. It is due to the madness of these events they feel necessary, rather than just feeling gimmicky, which is how I felt about Kill Bill. The violence is also a lot less goofy than in Tarantino's later films and is appropriately unsettling. You may argue that it is intentionally goofy in his later movies and I'd agree with that, but personally I much prefer his take on violence in this. It's rather gritty and wince-inducing without being too distracting. The film is thematically never about the violence itself as it's used more as a tool if anything.
It's been good revisiting Tarantino at his best after having recently rewatched and again disliked Kill Bill and I actually think that Reservoir Dogs has dethroned Pulp Fiction as my favourite of his work. It is exhilarating, inventive and exceedingly entertaining. If it hasn't already it will go down as one of the great directorial debuts.