Jameson Cult Film Club’s Reservoir Dogs screening – a night of booze, blood…and more blood

Last week on Wednesday the 27th of February I had the privilege of going to my first Jameson Cult Film Club screening at the Camp and Furnace in Liverpool. And it just so happened to be a screening of my all-time favourite film: Reservoir Dogs. Jameson Cult Film Club offers free screenings to lucky ticket winners (although it’s still first come first serve, so if you want a guaranteed seat you have to get there early) of classic films, giving people the chance to see them up on the big screen. The twist is that they screen the film in a location relating to the film. They’ve already had a Jaws screening at the Maritime Museum in Liverpool, an 80’s rave setting in Manchester for The Terminator, and now it was the turn of Tarantino’s Dogs.

The Camp and Furnace was an excellent location for the screening, the huge warehouse lending an eerie quality while watching the similar setting onscreen. The venue itself had been decorated to look like the warehouse from the film, with even finer details being recreated. Throughout the night there were also people walking around acting out parts of the movie, including a Mr. Pink, a Mr. White and a Nice Guy Eddie sauntering about, a Mr. Blonde character re-enacting his now infamous scene and an actor playing Mr. Orange who lay onstage for a full hour, dripping in fake blood (at least I hope it was) and dying – him I really applaud. And just before the film was about to begin they performed a scene in which they were chased away by cops, just before they all crammed into a car that was inside the warehouse and drove off through the garage door – impressive to say the least!

It’s easy to see why the film itself was chosen for the screening. Voted number 1 in the Top 50 Greatest Independent Films by Empire magazine, as well as being voted the most influential film in the past 15 years by them, Reservoir Dogs is an absolute classic. Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut is about a group of crooks and a heist gone wrong. Some of the thieves lie low in the warehouse rendezvous, others have been killed. Did someone tip-off the cops about the robbery? Swear words and fists fly as they try to figure each other out, having not much to go on other than colour-coded names (Mr. Pink, Mr. White, etc.).

Reservoir Dogs hasn’t lost any of its power over the years since it was made (21 years ago). It was Tarantino’s first script and it quickly proved he could write amazing, punchy, funny dialogue, and that he could write it well. The flashback structure that Tarantino uses works perfectly, unravelling the mystery as the story continues. And, as in his later films, QT creates plenty of tense scenes as well as violence and gore galore. It also has his now trademark use of cool music setting the tone for scenes, in particular one song that he uses as the backdrop for a particularly horrific moment which has become an all-time cult classic. Reservoir Dogs also contains some of the most perfect performances you will ever see. Harvey Keitel as Mr. White is conflicted and brimming with emotion. Steve Buscemi as the brilliantly named Mr. Pink is funny and has most of the best lines, which he delivers perfectly. Tim Roth as Mr. Orange is desperate and manic, yet also calm and cool when he needs to be. And Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde is intense and downright scary, while at the same time being bizarrely charming. It even boasts a good cameo from Tarantino himself – he is often criticised for being a bad actor in his (or any) films, but here he relishes the time to shine as Mr. Brown and delivers his lines convincingly and humorously (in particular in the opening scene).

In my opinion Reservoir Dogs is actually Quentin Tarantino’s best film. Compared to his others it is minimalist, taking place in largely just one location (the warehouse) as the characters desperately try to figure out what to do. But Tarantino keeps the pace up with each scene and with his expert dialogue, making it completely absorbing and compelling to watch. And this (as well as the brilliant cast and expert direction) is also why it is my favourite ever film.

All in all the screening itself was a perfect night. The idea to screen the film in a location relating to the film is cleverly (and bizarrely) immersive, and having actors re-enacting moments sets up the atmosphere before the film even begins. It was also a complete joy to watch my favourite film on the big screen and with a crowd who all enjoyed it as much as me. So keep an eye out for future Jameson Cult Film Club screenings near you. If you can get a ticket, then they are more than worth it.

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~ by square-eyed-geek on March 7, 2013.

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