A Doll's House Goes to the Dogs

     In 1997, I had the pleasure of watching Pulp Fiction for the first time. Intrigued for the entire duration of the movie, I found the film to be both provocative and innovative. As a result of this, I decided to view another film directed by Quentin Tarantino. My selection was Reservoir Dogs; and, ironically enough, it shares many similarities with Henrik Ibsen's 1879 A Doll's House, filmed twice in 1973 by Joseph Losey and Patrick Garland respectively.

     Reservoir Dogs, produced in 1992, was Tarantino's first film. The plot consists of a gang of criminals that are planning a diamond store heist. However, planted among them is a police officer that notifies his coworkers about the plans. When the criminals try to rob the store, there is a gunfight in which some of gangsters die and the cop is wounded. The survivors of the gunfight rendezvous in an abandoned warehouse and accuse each other of being the cop. The conversations in the warehouse make up most of this movie. Now, I know, how could anyone see a correlation between this action-filled plotline and A Doll's House, both simple and old-fashioned movies.

     All of the films rely on dialogue as their sole source of entertainment. The characters in Reservoir Dogs discuss many criminal activities, but none are ever witnessed by the viewer. A Doll's House is similar in that Torvald (David Warner/Anthony Hopkins) devotes all of his time towards conversation with his wife (Jane Fonda/Claire Bloom) in the respective movies. They, too, are discussing criminal activity, only on a lower level.

     As a film maker, it is important to remember that there are many important components of a film. An audience's attention will not be captivated solely on the basis of consistent dialogue. In the case of Pulp Fiction, a film that attained a lot more success than Reservoir Dogs, the dialogue is both comical and exciting, with each scene culminating in an action sequence. However, neither Reservoir Dogs nor A Doll's House (both versions) provides these types of scenes. Because of this lack of entertainment, the films are perceived as monotonous and lengthy.

Sam Craig Aguiar

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