Fantasy in Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir DogsEvery day, You Tube sends me a collection of videos that I might like to watch, and they are usually right although I rarely take the time to watch them. Anyway, today they sent me the “Light a Virgin” scene from Reservoir Dogs. I had just been talking to Will about that scene and how I had read that when Tarantino met Madonna, she told him that his theory on the song was not correct. So I watched it.

It is an interesting scene, but what really stood out to me was how ridiculous the scene was in the context of the whole movie. The gang all dress in the same clothes: black suits, white shirts, and black ties. Why would they do that? It makes them stand out. It would make a get away harder, especially if (as is the case in the film) the police show up.

But it’s worse than that. Why would they all go to a diner before the robbery, dressed in their very memorable outfits? Even if their heist went off without a glitch, the store employees would remember that they all wore black suits, white shirts, and black ties. The TV news would alert their viewers to report any men seen that day in black suits, white shirts, and black ties. And at least some people at the diner would report, “Yeah, there were six guys dressed in black suits, white shirts, and black ties.”

What’s more: it isn’t just those six guys. The mastermind and his son were there with them. All the other guys might be from out of town, but those two aren’t. In fact, those two are established in the film as being known organized crime figures. But they’re careful, see. At least they were careful until that day.

I understand that it is all about style. Having all the guys dress the same looks cool. (I’ve always thought Tarantino took the idea from another film—it seems very Hong Kong action.) And I understand that the opening scene is great with lots of the dialog that Tarantino is known for. But it isn’t realistic, although many people thought it was at the time. There is a direct line from Reservoir Dogs to the pure fantasy of Django Unchained.

Afterword

Speaking of well-dressed criminals, I just remembered Chow Yun-Fat pulling off his tie at the end of The Killer to use as a tourniquet. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. By the way, The Killer is a great film.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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