Quentin Tarantino - Reservoir Dogs (1992), 7/10

Tarantino's first feature length is a great film that sets itself apart with creative storytelling while establishing several trademarks for the director. The narrative itself is only mildly compelling but the delivery is outstanding, at least for the majority of the film. There are moments that are labored and unnecessary, making much of the story feel bland and lifeless. With this length of movie, this is unfortunately damning, relying on humor and visual techniques to resuscitate the floundering script. The script has moments of genuinely affecting material, but these are padded with so much filler that most of the surrounding time feels entirely wasted; perhaps growing pains for the director and writer in his professional infancy. There are, of course, scenes that are gratifyingly intense and worthwhile, such as the opening dialogue, tension during the torture scene, its resolution, scattered moments in Orange's background leading up to the progressive leaning bathroom scene, and the film's final shots. Reservoir Dogs is clearly the product of a talented writer who was in the midst of finding his voice, but was not fully realized, an unsurprising feature. The real surprise lies in how much of the film works so well despite these challenges and struggles. The acting performances feel genuine, a decent crutch to lean on during scenes that are otherwise entirely drawn out in a pointless manner, particularly much of the first half and mangled chunks of the second. The cast is assembled quite well and the film does exceed in drawing our attention to their idiosyncrasies, successfully making the audience invested in their fates. Could it have been better? Sure. Should it have been this great? Absolutely not. This is a film that has an unfair level of charisma and will remain a staple in heist film for good reason.