Reservoir Dogs Revisited – Celebrating 25 years of Tarantino’s palpable enthusiasm
“Are you gonna bark all day little doggie, or are you gonna bite?”
Mr. Blonde’s calmly delivered dialogue to Mr. White still resonates in every fan’s mind and has seen several renditions in all these years.
In 1992, Reservoir Dogs totally transformed Director Quentin Tarantino from ‘just another screenwriter’ and part-time actor to one of the most influential new filmmakers of his time.
This year, Reservoir Dogs turned 25 and the big movie buffs that we are, we got together to relive the classic movie reacting to every twist and turn as if we were watching it for the first time. “The film grows on you, man”, one of us muttered. The rest of us just nodded agreeing to the statement watching Mr. Orange sharing the “cops in the bathroom” story with the rest of the cast.
As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Tarantino’s gritty, violent and ground-breaking tale of crime and betrayal, here are some interesting facts about the film that every fan should know. After all, you would want to boast about how well you know about Reservoir Dogs, right?
#1 The first few screenings were a disaster
Recently Tarantino and cast members Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth and Harvey Keitel reunited for a screening at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Director spoke about how the initial public screenings were a f-cking disaster. “So I started counting the walkouts.” At one such screening, Tarantino said, he counted 33 people leaving the theatre. That quickly changed, however, when the movie became a breakout hit at Sundance, picked up for distribution by Miramax and growing into a genuine cult hit.
#2 It was a bitter-sweet experience at Sundance, though
While Sundance helped put Reservoir Dogs on the map and made it the ‘buzziest movie on the schedule’, the film had a total of zero awards to its tally at the end of the festival. Tarantino recounts how everyone was assuring him that his film was going to win big at the festival but out of the eight awards that were given to non-documentary features, the Director came home empty-handed.
#3 Was it even an original film?
Now we are not saying it’s an “inspiration” but there are many who feel strongly about it. Rumours have it that Reservoir Dogs was actually an uncredited remake of Ringo Lam’s Hong Kong action film Lung foo fung wan (City On Fire). In the short film, Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?, scenes from both the movies were spliced together to reveal the similarities. Both deal with a robbery, feature a warehouse rendezvous spot, a Mexican stand-off, and a veteran thief-undercover cop relationship, but Lung foo fong wan deals mostly with events leading to the robbery, while Reservoir Dogs is about the aftermath of an unseen heist gone wrong. It’s still an open debate, though. What do you think?
#4 The mystery behind who killed Nice Guy Eddie
Time for a trivia, guys! Imagine a Mexican stand-off between four characters named Joe, Mr. Orange, Mr. White and Nice Guy Eddie. Here’s how the scene looks like:
Joe’s pointing a gun at Mr. Orange
Mr. White is pointing a gun at Joe
Nice Guy Eddie is pointing a gun at Mr. White.
Joe shoots Orange.
White shoots Joe.
Eddie shoots White.
But surprisingly, four shots are heard and everyone collapses on the floor! So, who shot Nice Guy Eddie?
Here’s one explanation that is becoming more and more popular:
Joe shoots Mr. Orange, Eddie shoots Mr. White, and Mr. White shoots Joe and then Eddie. However, during filming Eddie’s squib went off before Mr. White was able to get to him, and he fell to the floor anyway. Hence, the confusion. Tarantino claimed that while he realized the mistake, he left it in the film to give people something to talk about. Guess he succeeded in his objective.
As the movie ended and the credits started rolling, I exclaimed to myself, “When I direct my first film, I would want it to be something like this”. Something I am sure has been uttered several times with a whole lot of conviction after watching this film. And why not? This film embodied Tarantino’s unapologetic passion for what he stands for, a palpable enthusiasm bar none, a celebration of mayhem and confusion. It is a cocktail made of arrogance, confidence and insane charisma; all weaved into a great piece of storytelling.
And don’t we all secretly desire for it?