Reservoir Dogs – Review

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking “Reservoir Dogs? That was not banned, was it?”. Well, technically yes, it was. Despite having a wide cinema release in 1992, the film never received a certificate for home release until 1995. Due to this, the film was given a second cinema release in 1994. Rumours state that the reason the home release was never rated was due to pressure being put on the BBFC Director at the time, James Ferman.  Now, the film is available fully uncut. But is it as good as some would have you believe?

If you are not aware, Reservoir Dogs is the story of a group of criminals who take part in a diamond heist, which goes wrong. Questions are asked and accusations are made, but one thing is clear. There is a rat and they need to be discovered. The film was the feature length debut of director Quentin Tarantino and much like the rest of his work, it has snappy dialogue, pop-culture references and extreme violence. Also, like the vast majority of his work, it is astoundingly good.

WARNING! THE BELOW TRAILER CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT MAY OFFEND SOME AND IS NOT SAFE FOR WORK!

There is not much that can be said about Reservoir Dogs that has not been said before. It is clever, funny, shocking and filled to the brim with incredible performances, with special mention going to Tim Roth as the badly injured Mr. Orange and to Michael Madsen as the psychopathic Mr. Blonde. It also has a pretty special soundtrack, with Stealers Wheel track Stuck In The Middle With You still bringing back some horrific memories of dancing and razorblades.

All Tarantino films have something to love in them, but Reservoir Dogs has a lot to love. If anything, there is very little to dislike. It is a tight, taut thriller which even after 25 years, has the power to shock and surprise. This is one of those films you must see.

BAN-WORTHY?

Nope. Not even slightly. But as explained, it was held up from a home release until three years after its cinema release. In a case study on their website, the BBFC state that the delay was due to “the introduction of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill in 1993 and its lengthy passage through Parliament. In response to concerns about the effects of media violence, largely in the wake of the James Bulger murder in 1993, part of the Bill’s remit was to make amendments to the Video Recordings Act 1984 (VRA), under which the BBFC had been appointed as the statutory regulatory body for video”.

One of the amendments to the VRA was the “harm test”. “This ‘harm’ test required the BBFC to pay ‘special regard (among the other relevant factors) to any harm that may be caused to potential viewers or, through their behaviour, to society by the manner in which the work deals with [such issues as] criminal behaviour [and] violent behaviour and incidents’”.

Due to this, Reservoir Dogs had to be revisited and over time, partly due to the fact film passed uncut for cinema release and also due in part to the success of Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, the video was eventually released uncut in 1995. So, eventually the public got the correct result, but they were made to wait.

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