Reservoir Dogs

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(1992) ★★★★

Channel 5: Sunday 6 December, 12am

Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth among the barking mad gang members arguing after a diamond store heist has gone badly wrong. Quentin Tarantino’s cult debut is clearly the work of a man who loves movies – influences on display range from John Huston’s Asphalt Jungle to Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing, from early John Carpenter to virtually every Hong Kong action flick ever made.

(Reservoir Dogs is, in effect, an unacknowledged revision of the 1987 Ringo Lam picture City on Fire.) It’s a powerful, addictive experience, similar in effect to Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13. Nowhere near as violent as some breathless critics have imagined but the dialogue is aggressive and there’s an air of constant menace. The opening titles are terrific, a brash calling card from a talented director who’s never – well, not yet, at any rate – fulfilled the startling promise of this picture. Unless you’re a Pulp Fiction fan, I guess.

Certificate: 18

Duration: 94min

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