Fourth in a series – Imagine for a moment that the world has been invaded and occupied by an army of robots, and you could only grab a handful of DVDs before you were incarcerated… what would they be?
“When I’m getting serious about a girl, I show her RIO BRAVO and she better f-ing like it!” says Mr Tarantino of his prospective dates. Now, putting aside whether or not someone should “test” one’s sweetheart, or indeed what that says about your attitude to relationships, the desire for the film fan to share their favourite films with those close to them is a strong one. And we’d be lying if we didn’t judge people based on their responses. It’s entirely wrong, of course, but I’m sure sports fans do the same when they take their beloveds to the big match (do they still call it that? Who cares…).
Then, imagine my trepidation when taking the girl I loved to see RESERVOIR DOGS for the first time. Our first date film had been HOOK, a crashing disappointment, and so a lot was riding on this exciting debut that I’d read about in Empire. I’d like to pretend that I was cool and knew all about the Hong Kong movies that had inspired Reservoir Dogs, or that I was entirely cognisant of how he was subverting the genre, but I didn’t. All I knew was that this was the film that everyone was talking about, and I just had to see it. Also, he worked in a video rental store and so did I, so maybe there was hope for me yet. Back then, an indie film like this rarely got a chance to be seen outside of London (actually, that’s pretty much the same now), but the UCI cinema chain used to run Director’s Chair screenings of foreign and indie films on Tuesday nights, and Dogs was showing for one night only. The lights went down and we sat through 99 minutes of mayhem, violence, betrayal, torture, and the finest on-screen swearing since GOODFELLAS.
And she hooted with laughter throughout!
It was then that I knew I had met the woman I would marry. Not only could she tolerate A-grade film brutality but she also knew that what we were watching was essentially a black comedy with great dollops of psychological drama. At the time we were both auditioning for drama schools, and we were in awe of the acting chops on display. I asked Claire about it today (yup, we’re still married!) and she said that she’d never seen a film like it before. She’d always seen nice family movies like ET and BACK TO THE FUTURE, so what Reservoir Dogs was, as she just put it, “Opened her up to new experiences…”
Which is why our next date movie was BASIC INSTINCT. But that’s another story…