Re-watched this after a long absence and found myself really, really enjoying it. What Tarantino did with no money is outstanding (not that Pulp Fiction had that much more money, but is a huge leap from this film in so many ways, which is saying something considering how great this one is).
You can say what you want about style over substance, ripping off other film genres, blah, blah, blah. Tarantino not only loves movies, but, more importantly, he loves his audience. Here is a guy that is thinking about what you, the viewer, are thinking each and every second. He's like an amazing host at a party making sure everyone's having a great time all the time.
And there's a heart here. The cop tied to the chair, who is tortured and nearly burned by Mr. Blonde (who you amazingly find yourself wishing you could hang out with, while being terrified by), named Marvin Nash, does NOT let out the truth about Mr. Orange, despite the fact that he looks half dead in the corner. And Mr. Orange takes a big risk killing Mr. Blonde to save Marvin. The sacrifices are heartfelt and all actions have consequences, something that makes every bullet count and every punch hurt in this film.
There's honor, integrity, "professionalism" and so many other things going on here, all while Tarantino dices up the story and lays it out as he sees fit. (Something I've read he did because he found it done in so many great novels and why the hell not do it in film?) The lack of chronology is not a gimmick, nor is the fact that you never see the robbery, something he set out to do with this heist film. It never feels like it works in spite of these things, because nothing seems to be missing from this taut chamber piece. It's as it should be and just feels so damn right.
I didn't even mention the acting (by everyone but Tarantino - sorry, but the guy takes me out of the movie every time he opens his mouth), the music, the subtle, but very effective, camerawork and the dialogue, which are all top notch.
I think the only thing knocking this down a half star for me is the fact that I know what else Tarantino was capable of, which blows the curve. This isn't my favorite of his, so the only way to show that is by giving this a slightly lower rating. Maybe that's wrong, but so be it. It's my damn review. Not like I'm going to convince anyone to see this based on my review anyway.