Spotlight: Reservoir Bitches

I've wandered out of the Red Eye on more than one occasion wondering how I was going to describe what I just saw without sounding as though I had gone barking nuts. (That's more a function of the limits of my descriptive abilities than of the coherence of the work. Usually.) No such worries this time. With Reservoir Bitches, the title tells you pretty much everything you need to know: It's Tarantino's testosterone-reeking heist story, except women play all the roles. The ladies convene, assume code names, set out on a jewelry-store robbery, botch it, then gradually turn on one another under the (quite correct) assumption that there's an undercover cop in their midst who set them up. Laura McGhee's script follows the outlines of the movie while converting the original's macho bluster into femme one-liners of varying wit. When complimented on her organizational skills, Nice Gal Eddie (Ariel Dumas) brightens and says, "That's some good feedback! Thanks!" And in the face of mounting carnage, veteran thief Ms. White (Cheryl Ronning) stares into the near distance and pronounces, "I need a moment to process this emotionally." Steve Busa's direction keeps the action moving breezily, and Liz Josheff's video sequences add daft, amusing punctuation to the scene changes. I initially found myself wishing the cast had produced a sense of menace in the early going to match the facility of their easygoing banter. But by the end an ear has been duly sliced and the cast has been thinned by violence, leaving us with a blithely nihilistic tone that does indeed both pay homage to, as well as send up, its source. Emily Gunyou nearly steals the thing as Ms. Pink (seeing an attractive woman channel the spirit of Steve Buscemi leaves one feeling, shall we say, confused). Meanwhile, as Katrina Hawley's cop waits to be mutilated, she pronounces herself "strangely aroused"—which is not a bad way to describe this evening at the Red Eye.

 
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