Reservoir Dogs

Please note: The print film guide erroneously lists the October 16 screening as being at 9:10PM. 10:00PM is the correct time on October 16.

In "Reservoir Dogs," you'll see nervy brilliance. If director Quentin Tarantino signs his name in blood across the screen, he does it with a sure, original flourish. The movie is one, extended climax. Even with flashbacks and other time jumps, it never lets up. For those sanguine enough to handle it, "Dogs" is the most riveting experience of the year.

Part of the movie's narrative strategy (and effectiveness) is gradual revelation, so the less said about the story the better. Essentially a han eist flick, it's about a group of professionals hired by underworld honcho to rob a diamond shipment in Los Angeles.

In a nihilistic drama like this, things -- of course -- go awry. As the panicked robbers try to figure what went down, so do we. Each scene provides a clearer view of the picture. It takes the whole movie to piece things together, but the nerve-damaging wait is more than rewarding.

A nod to such noir crime classics as Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing," the movie's more than savvy sensationalism. Suspense, horror and humor are expertly interwoven. There is also a distinct code of honor among these cursing thieves -- pride in their work, loyalty and occasional grace under pressure. Every performer imbues edgy life to his role.

You'll never listen to stealers Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle With You" quite the same way again.

-  Desson Howe, Washington Post, 1992


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