Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Top Ten # 1 - Reservoir Dogs

Quentin Tarantino is probably my favorite filmmaker alive. While he's not terribly original in terms of story or concept (since every movie he's ever made has been a tribute, homage or remake/interpretation of another work) his style of making films is completely and absolutely unoriginal. In my opinion, Tarantino flat out writes some of, if not the, best dialogue in film. No other director can hold my attention with film after film 2 hours or more in length and comprised of 70-90% dialogue like he can. Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill 2, Jackie Brown and Inglorious Basterds were all examples of that; movies almost completely driven by amazing dialogue. I'd say that's Tarantinos strongest talent.

Reservoir Dogs, the independent debut of film of Quentin Tarantino is the high point of all the above listed qualities. This is, in my opinion, the best American  movie ever made. This film is savage, ferocious, fiery and has an intensity level that very, very few movies I've ever seen can rival. This really is the product of a master filmmaker and has a stellar cast, with Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, Chris Penn and Lawrence Tierny all giving brilliant performances.

This movie has one of Tarantinos more unique concepts: this is a heist movie shown without the heist ever shown. All that's shown is how the men involved deal with an already bad situation that steadily goes from worse to even worse. It's an interesting idea that takes away from the countdown style of most heist movies and turns it into live ticking clock style that adds a real intensity to the film.

Intensity here is the key word, and this film is bathed in it. The situations are intense, the men are intense, the dialogue is intense. The violence is especially intense, even for a Tarantino film, and I'd argue that this is the most violent film his ever made. **Spoiler warning**: this movie contains some very intense scenes of violence towards a police officer that is barely averted from becoming even worse.**

What I really believe makes this the best American film ever made is the combination of three things: the intensity, the realism and dialogue. Simply put, this movie feels real. There's no stylization or fancy effects or digital anything here, and combined with Tarantinos masterful dialogue, this feels like your really a part of the heist and not just watching. Secondly, as I already spent a good deal of words explaining, the dialogue. The banter between thieves and killers, ranging from Madonna to Pam Grier and a particularly brilliant monologue by Steve Buscemi on why he doesn't tip are the best I've ever heard. Combine those two with the through-the-roof intensity and it makes one explosive package.

Reservoir Dogs is the peak of American film-making, and remains Tarantinos best movie and my favorite by him. Raw, savage and brilliantly filmed, Reservoir Dogs stands as my Number One Movie of all time.

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