As an adolescent, I believed that that tagline of a movie was its theme. If I wanted to know what it was about, I looked at the movie poster.
Christmas 1994. I opened my brother’s gift to me. Reservoir Dogs on VHS. The tagline: “Four perfect killers. One perfect crime. Now all they have to fear is each other.”
“Hey, this movie’s theme is that there is no honor amongst thieves.”
July 4, 2015. I was thinking deeply about friendship and trust. In my mind, I gravitated to Mr. Blonde and his friendship with Nice Guy Eddie.
Mr. Blonde was loyal enough to do prison time for Nice Guy Eddie, but he turned out to be unreliable for the job that Nice Guy Eddie had for him.
The list of imperfect relationships went on:
Mr. White bonded with Mr. Orange, but Mr. Orange was an undercover cop that meant to bring down Mr. White.
Mr. Pink had been friends with Joe since he was a kid, but expressed mistrust for him.
Mr. Orange looked to Detective Holdaway to mentor him on undercover survival, but Holdaway is just doing his job. He might not have the concern for Mr. Orange that Mr. Orange believes Holdaway has for him.
My new Reservoir Dogs theme: No friendship or bond is perfect. Both their development and their maintenance is as unique as the next.
I’ve read many books on story analysis and development. They all helped as a writer and a critic. But it was a lack of a close circle of friends in my teens and 20’s followed by the longevity of new friendships that have allowed me to see the film in this light.
The tagline was my training wheels. I can ride on my own now, soaring down the street or falling off. With age, I realize that no one (not even tagline writers) know more than anyone about the nature of this world. We’re all figuring it out until we die.
Who knows what Reservoir Dogs will be about the next time?