This overrated, ‘so-called-masterpiece’ is far from Tarantino’s best. Set around the aftermath of a jewelry heist gone wrong, it focuses on the criminals that suspect one of themselves to be a police informant.
In the opening sequence, it becomes crystal-clear that this director has greater ambitions than one would expect from a first-timer in the field. Tarantino immediately introduces the film’s characters in a highly effective way. And it’s not using any ordinary methods either: the main characters, in this case criminals, are huddled around a table having what seems like a casual, everyday conversation for them. Yet here’s where Tarantino’s knack for originality and dialogue kicks in; the talk that these criminals are conversing in is among the remotest and strangest on the face of this planet. Its crude and odd, but at the same time astoundingly fascinating to watch them crackle at each other. Each line of dialogue is delivered with immeasurable energy and talent; it’s a delightful joy to watch the actors. It’s evident that Tarantino wants to achieve a home-run. Yet what he ultimately accomplishes with the rest of the film is less; a solid hit that doesn’t live up to the magic of the beginning.
What’s missing the most from this Tarantino caper is the poetical dialogue that we usually come to expect from the filmmaker’s films. It’s present in the delightful opening scene but not nearly as memorable in the other parts of the movie. Gone are the rat-a-tat, sharp and witty conversations between characters; only to be replaced by slightly unnecessary violence as well as tedious situations in which characters sputter instead of properly speaking.
Thankfully enough, a set of brilliant performers are redeeming factors. Harvey Keitel offers likable charisma in a memorable role, Michael Madsen is mesmerizingly engaging as a twisted psycho, and even Tim Roth, who’s character lays on the ground for most of the movie, tunes in marvelous work.
As usual, Tarantino spends much time picking musical numbers that suit his film. The choices are dazzling; both magnetic and stylish, particularly fascinating is the use of the upbeat song “Stuck in the Middle” during a shocking torture scene. Despite a clunky, arguably dull ending, the director also proves that he’s a risk-taker by providing plenty of twists and surprises. Questionable, though, is whether all of his decisions make perfect sense.