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Final Day - Thursday, June 1




(1992) The picture Wes Craven couldn’t take! Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, et al., are given color-coded pseudonyms as squealer protection (Buscemi objects to being Mr. Pink) and set up for a big jewel robbery by granite-faced Lawrence Tierney (erstwhile star of 40s B Noirs). And then, after the caper goes sour offscreen, the recriminations, torture of a captive cop, suspicions of a police mole, all erupt bloodily. Originally intended as a b&w 16mm near-home movie, things changed when Harvey Keitel got the script after it passed through multiple hands, immediately casting himself as Mr. White and executive producer. Time shifts, non-linear narrative, pop song soundtrack acting contrapuntally, richly colorful dialogue, hair-raising violence — yes, the Tarantino touches are there from the beginning, as well as the influences — from Kubrick’s The Killing, Joseph H. Lewis’s The Big Combo, Ringo Lam’s City on Fire, Joe Sargent’s The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (the color-coded criminals: see July 8, 16 and 21), etc. — but then what recent film has been more influential than this? Nightmare on Elm Street director Craven walked out at the Toronto Film Festival premiere. 35mm. Approx. 99 min.



Great dialogue, dramatic time shifts, poetic violence and a killer soundtrack, come see the movie that started it all.”
– The Interrobang 

“A REVELATORY GUT-PUNCH OF A FIRST FEATURE! What Reservoir Dogs added to the crime flick was overt, morbid humor alongside unflinching violence. And the fact that many find it as funny as it is gruesome remains as intriguing as it is disturbing. Implicitly, moviegoers ask of any drama, as Mr. Blonde asks of Mr. White, ‘Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy – or are you gonna bite?’ This remarkable movie bites. Hard.”
– Jonathan Stevenson, Brooklyn Magazine 

“Everybody in this movie, with their made-up names and their tough-guy talk, is playing a part. And it goes beyond just these particular crooks. Those endless pop-culture references help expand the film’s scope beyond the people onscreen, speaking to the way that, by 1992, we had come to build our own characters and realities — through the details and the attitudes we collected around us. Tarantino pulls the rug out from under his characters, but he turns his lens toward us. He transforms an unremarkable story into an existential treatise.”
– Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice

“A strikingly individual directorial debut and self-consciously within a tradition of existential crime films. Its chief debts, all fully repaid, are to Stanley Kubrick, Walter Hill, Joseph Losey and Raoul Walsh… The ensemble acting of Reservoir Dogs is in the class of Glen-garry Glen Ross. Tarantino’s dialogue crackles with obscene wit and gutter poetry, and he uses the widescreen to acute effect with deep focus compositions that create a dramatic space between people.”
– Philip French, The Guardian

– Indiewire

“A DIZZYING ENTRY IN THE ‘F— YOU!’ SCHOOL OF MACHO BRAVURA... FUNNY, THRILLING AND UNABASHEDLY VIOLENT! Some of the most enthralling movies of our time have come down to the spectacle of raging macho blowhards hurling profanities and hell-raising wisecracks at each other... Like Huston and Kubrick, who used their intricate (but botched) heist plots to demonstrate the existential absurdity of a perfect crime, Tarantino has made a nihilist comedy… In the end, these wily thieves may want to trust one another, but trust is the one thing they can’t have. It’s what their delirious macho showmanship — all bluster, all noise – shuts out.”
– Owen Gleiberman

“Tarantino’s powerful homage/reworking of the heist-gone-wrong thriller - stealing ideas from Kubrick’s The Killing and Scorsese’s Mean Streets, among others - is probably the final word (or frame) on the subject. It’s violent, intelligent, well written (by Tarantino) and acted (Buscemi, Roth and Penn take the prizes).”
Time Out (London)

“Sets off enough rockets to hold and shake us for every one of its 99 minutes.”
– Jonathan Rosenbaum

“A small, modestly budgeted crime movie of sometimes dazzling cinematic pyrotechnics and over-the-top dramatic energy. It may also be one of the most aggressively brutal movies since Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs.”
– Vincent Canby, The New York Times

– Empire

Film Forum