Why Not Showing the Heist Actually Made the Movie Better

30 years have passed since then Reservoir Dogs presented to the world Quentin Tarantino and his motley crew of thieves: Mr. Blonde (MichaelMadson), Mr. Orange (Timo Roth), Lord knows (Harvey Keith), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr. Brown (Tarantino himself) and Mr. Blue (Edward Bunker). The 1992 film is about a group of thieves who want to pull off the perfect diamond heist, but the crime goes awry when one of the men turns out to be a cop. Now it’s known why Tarantino doesn’t show the actual heist reservoir dogs, as it boiled down to a budgetary reason, although the filmmaker himself has always considered it beneficial to the overall story not to show the heist. Showing the heist yourself isn’t a bad idea. In fact, there are many reasons why it could have made the Sundance hit even better, but not including that crucial scene that clouds the plot helped make the film unforgettable. Why?


What is Reservoir Dogs about?

Well, one of those reasons is that it fixed something Reservoir Dogs is: a character-driven play about loyalty, honor and identity. A wild shootout extravaganza will always be entertaining, but it would have obliterated the mysteries surrounding it Reservoir Dogs. One of them is about Mr. Blonde aka Vic Vega. Before Mr. Blonde arrives and Mr. White and Mr. Pink are about to turn on each other, we hear over and over again how Blonde has started the shooting and White is mildly labeling him a psychopath.

Rewind to the opening scene, however, and that moment tells a different story. The boys talk about Madonna’s song ‘Like A Virgin’ and Mr Blonde explains why the song is about a girl who is vulnerable after being betrayed by all the men in her life. Now he asks Joe (Lawrence Tierney) jokingly, “Do you want me to shoot that guy?” later in the scene, but Mr. Blonde never comes off as a psychopath. The diner scene is crucial because it helps establish the character of the main cast. It’s this juxtaposition that makes Mr. Blonde intriguing. Where is he? Any chance he’s the mole? Heck, when he finally shows up at the warehouse, his movements become unpredictable because he’s an easygoing gun with a friendly side.

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Who is the cop?

Does that mean that showing the mugging with Mr. Blonde making bananas would have killed the mystery surrounding him? Yes. Even Mr. Pink says the guy is too crazy to be a cop. Given that the police were waiting until the shit started hitting the fan, being a cop just wouldn’t make sense to Mr. Blonde. In the case of Mr. White, he seems more like the police officer who intentionally breaks the rules of giving his name to Mr. Orange as one of the examples, and given how little we know about his character. However, this notion could easily apply to everyone, especially Mr. Blue! Until confirmed by Joe, Mr. Blue’s whereabouts are unknown. He could have been down at the station, squeaking like a pig about the secret warehouse. When the heist is not shown, subtle character hits that viewers would have noticed are faded out. Granted, Tarantino would have done his best to hide Mr. Orange being the rat within the group, but eagle-eyed fans would have noticed the key moments, but subtle moments that would have added another dimension to their characters. Unfortunately, it is noticeable that the film is exposure-heavy, but the combination of strong acting and Tarantino’s biting dialogues mostly makes the film seem natural.

The flashbacks add to the plot

However, it’s not just the fact that the mystery factor plays out until Mr. Orange shoots Mr. Blonde, it gave Tarantino a chance to play with the structure without confusing the audience. Because the initiating incident is not shown, Mr. White, Mr. Orange, and Mr. Blonde’s flashbacks never feel like the story is slowing down because those are the moments that help the story move forward. It gives the audience a chance to connect with these criminals; the important showcase of Mr. Blonde and Nice Guy Eddie’s (Chris Penn) strong bonding as friends, how Mr. Orange wormed his way into the crew, and the development of his friendship with Mr. White. The flashback moments help piece together a puzzle (aka the heist) that provides the information we need without spoiling the story’s dynamic. It would have been very hard to get this narrative to work if we had seen the heist. The non-linear aspect would have been disjointed and although the flashbacks give important information about the formation of the crew and characters, the momentum would have been squandered because the focus should remain on the present after the heist went awry.

Tarantino controls the audience’s expectations of the ending

That brings us to the end. There should have been more development between Mr. White and Mr. Orange’s friendship. While it’s ridiculous that Joe’s gut feeling is the reason he thinks Mr. Orange is the mole, if he had said he didn’t research the guy thoroughly, Mr. White should have questioned Mr. Orange a little more . Trust in Joe and Nice Guy Eddie should have been stronger, and given that Mr. White never comes across as the type of guy who acts on emotions, his motive for trusting Mr. Orange feels disingenuous. However, after Mr. Orange finally reveals the truth, the great ending sees Mr. White blow his head off before the cops blow him to the skies. The crucial part is keeping the focus on his face so viewers never see those explosive moves. Not delivering the wild spectacle at the gunfight gave Tarantino the flexibility to control audience expectations of what they will see. That moment when Mr. White is discouraged at being betrayed resonates more than witnessing the tragic events that unfold at the climax. Reservoir Dogs is a violent film, but Tarantino is reluctant to deliver those moments. He never loses sight of character, and that’s why these men are considered high-profile when it comes to characters in cinema.

Reservoir Dogs would still have been a good movie if the heist had been shown. However, by not showing the catalyst that set the whole plot in motion, the strong, character-driven story was able to develop beyond your typical popcorn affair. Tarantino created a cast of unforgettable characters and unpredictable moments, which is why the film remains iconic. You can also celebrate the 30th anniversary of this classic with its 4k Blu-ray release.

https://collider.com/reservoir-dogs-bank-heist-quentin-tarantino/ Why Not Showing the Heist Actually Made the Movie Better

Sarah Ridley

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