Why Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs Script Confused Hollywood

In an interview published in the 1994 issue of Film Comment, Quentin Tarantino spoke of how certain people who read his script assumed that “Reservoir Dogs” could be realized more effectively as a live stage play. After all, much like a play, the film largely takes place in a single location (the warehouse where the characters are constantly coming and going), save for a key flashback. However, Tarantino knew his own script better than anybody. Moreover, although he had yet to make a name for himself in the eyes of Hollywood, he was confident in his ability to translate his written words into potent cinema through the lens of a camera. He explained:

“People would read it and go, ‘Well, this isn’t a movie, this is a play, why don’t you try and do it in an Equity Waiver house?’ I was like, ‘No, no, trust me, it’ll be cinematic.’ I don’t like most film versions of plays, but the reason I had it all take place in that one room was because I figured that would be the easiest way to shoot something.”

Sometimes less is more, and that’s especially the case with “Reservoir Dogs.” The film may never show guns blazing in massive police shootouts or car chases, but such a crime’s emotional and physical aftermath is explored to its fullest. Add in a level of distrust and the idea that the characters could be found out by the police at any moment, and you have a level of tension that couldn’t have been recreated with any actual heist.

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