Reservoir dogs review

Figure 1: poster (1993)

Reservoir dogs (Quintin Tarantino) is very offensive to a lot of people and cultures, but that seems to be a part of it's charm. Tarantino is not afraid to offend people if it makes a more realistic movie, he attempts to show life as it is/was.
Figure 2: Mr orange bleeding out (1993)

The film surprisingly follows Todorov's narrative theory, Todorov’s narrative is the way in which most film narratives are structured. A film that follows Todorov's narrative theory starts in equilibrium, brakes into disequilibrium, there is then a recognition of the disequilibrium and attempt to repair the disequilibrium ; lastly the will be a new equilibrium. Equilibrium can be found at the diner “They argue, joke and b.s. each other through thick clouds of smoke” (Ebert, 1992), this is Equilibrium because they have not committed the crime (a heist). After the dinner the movie cuts to black, as if to symbolise the end of the equilibrium. The spectator is thrown into a car with a dying Freddy Newandyke or Mr Orange (Tim Roth), this is clearly disequilibrium; seeing a character who was in the diner in pain can also signify the change to disequilibrium. Recognition of the disequilibrium can be found at the warehouse the story is revealed form the perspectives of Mr. Pink, who believes there is a Rat (a person who alerted the police, usually for personal gain) and Mr. White or Larry Dimmick (Harvey Keitel). They attempt to repair the Equilibrium by searching for the rat, an equilibrium is found when Freddy reveals he is a cop and there “horrifying poetic justice” (Ebert, 1992), is fired from Larry’s gun. In the New equilibrium there was no space for the criminals so they were removed.
Figure 3:Stand off (1993)

Although it follows Todorov’s narrative the film does not have a linear narrative, the story is constantly jumping around its own timeline. Starting in the diner, it jumps to the future post robbery. Once we get to the post robbery scenes, the film has character flashbacks, explaining how they got to where they are now. The films continuity is affective for a spectator, it “cuts back and forth in time with neat efficiency to dramatize the origins of this soured caper” (Canby, 1992) giving more than enough character development for the spectator to decide which side to cheer for.
Figure 4: Father and son (1993)

Freddy and Larry (Keitel) have an interesting relationship, while Freddy is bleeding out Larry is there comforting him. Maybe it is because “Keitel is good as usual, playing perhaps the most sympathetic character”(Yapp) Or maybe there is more to it. He could be sympathetic because he has built a good relationship with Freddy, or Larry and Freddy have a father son dynamic. The father son dynamic would explain why Larry defends Freddy to the point of shooting two close associates. When Larry finds out that Freddy is a cop, he feels betrayed, even worse by someone he may have seen as a son. The last struggle is symbolic of Larry having to make a decision, we as a spectator can speculate whether Larry shot Freddy, but well never be completely sure that he did.

Illustration list
Figure 1: poster (1993)[poster].At: (accessed on 22/03/2015)

Figure 2: Mr orange bleeding out (1993)[film still]. At (accessed on 22/03/2015)

Figure 3:Stand off (1993)[film still]. At: on 22/03/2015)

Figure 4: Father and son (1993)[film still]. At: (accessed on 22/03/2015)


Canby, V. (1992) Reservoir Dogs (1992) Review/Film; A Caper Goes Wrong, Resoundingly. At: on 22/03/2015)

Ebert, R. (1992) Reservoir dogs review. At: (accessed on 22/03/2015)

Yapp, N. MOVIE REVIEW the Reservoir Dogs. At:


  1. Phew! I got a bit lost in the equilibrium/disequilibrium debate, but I think I can see what you are meaning :)
    Interesting review...


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