Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Revisiting Reservoir Dogs, 25 years later

Photo: Miramax Films

Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs turned 25 this year, which provides a good reason to revisit the now-canonical caper and character study. Nerdwriter’s newest video essay investigates it with fresh eyes, trying to parse just how the film has aged since it first divided audiences at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival. The verdict? Quite well, actually.

The essay doesn’t focus on the things that turned heads a quarter-century ago, like the grit, blood, and ear-slicing. Rather, with the benefit of hindsight and Tarantino’s many hours of filmmaking since 1992, The Nerdwriter zeroes in on Reservoir Dog’s non-linear structure and what distinguishes it from other non-standard means of storytelling. What’s especially fascinating is how the essay compares Tarantino’s sequencing with that of an album, saying that his films tend to have “the same natural rhythm as an album cycle does, offering a variety in tempo, from intense to reflective and back.” It’s a striking observation, especially considering Tarantino loves to set pivotal scenes to songs that tend to immediately burrow into one’s subconscious, alongside images that do, like, say, a sliced ear. The essay’s on structure even explores the film’s famous commode story, showing how clearly the young Tarantino knew how to plot out his films.


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