July 20, 2016
By Lauren Gutierrez
“I need you cool. Are you cool?” – Mr. White
“I am cool.” – Mr. Pink
Quentin Tarantino needs no introduction, not with the stellar writing and directing credits under his belt for cinematic classics like Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained. In one of his earlier films he gained a cult following for Reservoir Dogs in which a jewelry heist gone wrong is carried out by a group of guys that up to that point were all strangers to each other.
In the film Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) and his son “Nice Guy Eddie” Cabot (Chris Penn) hire 6 suit and tie wearing, shades-on, smokes-lit, hair slicked henchmen to do their dirty work. The guys are given aliases and are never to reveal their true names or where they’re from.
The actual burglary is never shown but the dialogue is superb plus the shoot out scenes are gritty and bloody like a cops and robbers movie should be. Most of the action takes place in a warehouse where the guys flee to after Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino) and Mr. Blue (Edward Bunker) are killed by the cops while stealing the diamonds.
Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) attempts to calm Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) who has a bullet wound to the abdomen but can’t be taken to the hospital without tipping off police. These two characters were cool with each other from the beginning, talking and giving advice so they developed a certain level of trust. The anguish felt by them as the events unfold is palpable and compelling.
On the flip side Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) arrives to the warehouse paranoid because he had to shoot his way out of the mess. He doesn’t trust anyone because he knows someone set them up. When Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) shows up he is a little too calm considering the mayhem and he proves himself to be the psycho-killer they think he is when he takes ruthless measures for his own entertainment.
The scenes I liked the most caught my eye because of how they were shot stylistically. When Mr. Blonde takes the guys outside to show them a surprise the camera angle is shot from inside the car looking up at them. This is a film technique that makes people appear powerful as opposed to footage shot from above which makes people look smaller and weaker.
In another scene Mr. Orange is in a bathroom where he feels like he is being watched suspiciously. It literally shows everyone stopping to look at him as he uses a hand dryer in slow motion. It cuts to them in reality and no one is paying attention but it conveys the paranoia the character feels perfectly.
The movie is full of unexpected and tense moments that lead you in and out of a nonlinear narrative and then makes its way full circle at the end. It delivers the characters and story arch whose loose ends I wanted to see come together and they did just that.