Film Comparison Reservoir Dogs and the Killing

Category: Dog, Violence
Last Updated: 26 Jan 2021
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Directed by Stanley Kubrick and released in 1956, The Killing has resonated through the years as an influential and groundbreaking story of a botched bank robbery told through the eyes of each different characters point of view. The scenes are strategically organized out of order and lead the story through a maze of plot advancements. Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs opened in October 1992 and draws many influences and themes from Kubrick’s film. The unorthodox arrangement of scenes accompanied by meticulously crafted development of character side stories can be seen in both features.

Furthermore, these films subject matter both have to do with a planned heist gone awry resulting in the deaths of all but one character that is later apprehended by the authorities. The underlying themes also mirror one another quite seamlessly especially when it comes to trust and character conduct. Each film does a fine job at gripping the audience in suspense until the final cut scene. In both films, there is the initial robbery plan that is presented to a small group of mostly thugs who don’t ask too many questions and would probably turn on one another in the blink of an eye.

It becomes apparent quite soon into the opening of each film that something has gone or will go wrong at some point at the hands of a mole within the operation. Accidents, such as Reservoir Dogs failed robbery attempt itself, happen within both plots to make the stories move forward at a jarring rate. Each of the film’s directors were able to take away any and all comprehension of time outside of the movie experience and replace it with edge of your seat, non-linear plot installations. Above all, the distinct and groundbreaking writing from both films is what creates the sense of hyperrealism seen within both features.

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The language and direction used in Tarantino’s movie pays homage to early film noir classics as well as films such as Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets and even The Killing itself. The themes found in The Killing can also be found quite easily within Reservoir Dogs as well. Stanley Kubrick’s film was released in the mid 1950’s and has underlying tones that were most likely derived from the uneasiness of the nation at that time. Who to trust remains to be a big theme in the movie, especially after the group finds out that there is a snitch among the ranks.

Reservoir Dogs plays off of this same notion and really makes an unapologetic example of how no one can be trusted, even when you truly believe in them. The Killing goes as far as to imply that, in the case of the window teller and his greedy wife, men should not trust women, especially when it comes to the subject of potential money in the pocket. They send out the message that you can only trust one person and one person only: yourself. The eternal excuse that money cannot provide happiness becomes a recurring theme in both films.

Another theme seen in each movie suggests the idea that violence creates nothing but negativity and eventual downfall. Considering the fact that nearly every main character in both films perishes by the end, just goes to show the theme that tells us how violence met with more violence can only result in misery. There are many similarities between each of these films. Quentin Tarantino candidly speaks about how he wanted to create his own version of The Killing, and how he did exactly that with Reservoir Dogs.

The pervasive amount of violence found in both films also becomes noteworthy when looking for parallels between the two. Reservoir Dogs is violent in many more scenes than The Killing and is also filled with much coarser language, but the sustained violence that occurs during the final 25 minutes of The Killing must certainly have been something seldom seen by the public in the time of its release, especially the graphic bullet wounds seen in the faces of several fallen characters.

In both films, violence is something that each character uses in order to get by, but by the end of each feature most of the characters have perished at the hands of someone else. This goes to show that even though the characters were intrinsically geared toward violence, they met their respective downfalls due to their own violent or dubious actions.

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Film Comparison Reservoir Dogs and the Killing. (2017, Jan 20). Retrieved from

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