Shot Reverse Shot- Uniquely Done in Reservoir Dogs

Quentin Tarantino is unlike any other director that has ever existed. Though his films can be quite gruesome his directing is near genius if watched carefully and closely. For instance watch this clip from his debut film Reservoir Dogs:

 

Watching the clip on silent can show how and why the director made certain choices in filming in a particular way. Here Tarantino decided to make a unique editing choice on using the shot reverse shot technique. Usually this technique is used when two characters are having a conversation by filming the one talking. However, in this case there are more than one actor and they are not all sitting across from one another, instead they are sitting at a round table. One easy way of filming a group of individuals having a conversation is either to do it from one perspective of a person or show the group in one shot. Tarantino on the other hand decided to use multiple perspectives by filming over the shoulder of each character pointing towards the one speaking at the moment. This action to me seems more natural than capturing the conversation from a distance. If you were sitting at a round table with a group having a conversation you are more than likely going to be staring at the person speaking than the entire group or a person who is not speaking. Doing an over the shoulder shot also allow the audience to remain the audience rather than having a POV shot.

Just listening to the dialogue in the film without watching also offers a unique perspective on the clip. Tarantino is able to make us imagine looking directly at the individual talking like we would in a normal conversation. This is perhaps why he chose to capture this scene in such a way because as I said before it is more natural. Without looking we know there is a group of individuals holding a conversation in close proximity of each other. We don’t imagine looking over the group and even if we did our head would be facing the individual speaking. Had I closed my eyes before seeing the scene this is how I would imagine it being shot, and would have been very surprised if it was not filmed in this manner.

Watching the scene with sound shows just how fluid the conversation really is with the actors seeming more natural than actually watching a movie. It really allows the audience to place themselves within the conversation rather than just watching it unfold. The shot reverse shot from different shoulders as I said before is the perfect way to film a round table discussion even if its over talking about tipping a waitress. Filming in any other way would have been off putting and would not have been a great way to start watching a film. All in all Tarantino did an excellent job at capturing the moment rather than the scene.

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