Reservoir Dogs ★★★★★

My lone bit of heresy: the "Like a Virgin" opening is the movie's weakest scene, largely because Tarantino the actor is driving it, but also because it feels more like Tarantino the writer trying to be David Mamet. After that, the voice is unmistakably QT. (Though I suppose the fact that I also think Roth and Keitel offer the weakest performances counts as heresy too.)

"Larry, I'm so scared, would you please hold me?"

For all his bloody bluster and, uh, glibness (quarter in the jar for Josh Larsen), how many filmmakers would dare to make a tough guy crime movie with such achingly vulnerable and sensitive protagonists? The stakes here aren't whether Mr. Orange will survive, or whether anyone will get away with the diamonds, but what will happen to the Orange-White relationship when the truth of his identity is revealed – and how it will be revealed.

QT's love for performances and the act of performance itself is so playfully on display here.

"You're not gonna get hurt. You're fucking Beretta. They believe every fucking word 'cause you're super cool."

Just meta movie geek fun? Maybe. But there's also something fundamentally honest that he's always exploring: how we're constantly projecting a version of ourselves... struggling with how much of our true selves to reveal, to whom... and the consequences of that honesty and intimacy.

I love the sparseness of it too, how undeniably cinematic it is while also essentially being a stage play, which adds another layer to the performance aspect. All the activity that led to Orange bleeding out in the warehouse, all the activity that they're afraid is swirling around them outside, the cops surely closing in... we see almost none of it. We're part of the act, lending our imaginations to the proceedings.

More during Filmspotting's Sacred Cow review on episode #536.

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