PRODUCTION JOURNAL: Midweek Morning Mixer - 10.23.13

October 23, 1992

Twenty-one years ago, on October 23, a small independent drama, Reservoir Dogs, was released, launching not only the career of its writer/director Quentin Tarantino but also about a decade’s worth of irony-infused, hip-seeming and violent crime pictures. Looking back, however, and despite the many copycats that came since, Tarantino’s work is still appealing cinephilic and, despite its own many influences, uniquely voiced and original. The story of a group of beaten, bloody gangsters holed up in a warehouse with an undercover cop in their midst, Reservoir Dogs borrows from the favorite films of its director, who undoubtedly watched them many times during his stint as an L.A. video store clerk, but it does so with true affection. The film’s storyline owes something to Ringo Lam’s Hong Kong pic City on Fire, the hipster attitude and carefree mingling of crime drama with pop ephemera –– Tarantino’s gangsters debating Madonna, for example –– to Jean-Luc Godard and his Breathless. And from another French director, Jean-Pierre Melville, Tarantino adopted a stylized, somewhat anachronistic costuming and behavioral formality for his modern-day gangsters. Produced for only $1.2 million and grossing just under $3 million, Reservoir Dogs really made its mark on audiences when it was released on video and when its critical success granted Tarantino the clout to make his next film, Pulp Fiction. ~~ Focus Features
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