i vividly remember when i first saw reservoir dogs. it was at the brattle theater in cambridge in the summer of 94 while i was still in grad school. i went to see it with my two buddies, tim and charlie. i didn't know what to expect; i had never heard of that tarantino guy.
when i came out of the theater that night, my brain was reeling, my mind was blown. it was a new kind of film, loud, fast, violent, complex. it was brilliant. i loved it. i went back to see it again a week later, i was so flabergasted.
i saw it again much later, maybe 5 or 6 years later. by that time, that genre was old hat. pulp fiction had already come out. we were all too used to the tarantino style of intricate story telling and uncensored use of violence. so when i saw it again, it had lost its magic. i was a bit bothered by the ear scene. it seems to be all the movie was about. wasn't sure then whether i ever wanted to see it again. it seems wrong.
a couple years ago or so, i came across a boxset of reservoir dogs at a very good price. i figured 'hey, what the hell, it's a classic, ain't it?' and i bought it. the box sat on the shelf, gathering dust, until a few weeks ago, when my better half decided to plop it in the machine. i was a bit anxious at first, but within a few minutes, i fell once again under the spell of that brillant flick.
but not the same reasons.
i didn't find the movie loud, fast and violent; on the contrary, it seemed slow and deliberate. Keitel and Roth in some abandoned warehouse, argueing, pacing, shouting, two men, one room too big for them, waiting. it reminded me of a theater play, something Chekov could have imagined. and i shocked me at the realization that a large chunk of the movie takes place in the stillness of the warehouse. the ear scene became irrelevant, the robbery, the gangsters, the clever dialog in the coffee shop, all this was not the movie. no. the tension, the love, the respect, the trust between these two men, that was the movie. a simple story, really.
i don't think i'm gonna watch it again for a long time. i don't need too for now. i need let it rest for another decade in a cool dark place like a good bottle of wine.