Study Guide

Reservoir Dogs Mr. Orange (Tim Roth)

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Mr. Orange (Tim Roth)

Orange is a relatively young undercover cop who infiltrates a crime boss' planned jewelry heist. He gets tutored by one of his superiors and makes a pretty convincing criminal—he's just not convincing enough. The crime boss figures out he's the rat and it doesn't look good for our boy Orange. Even before that, he gets shot in the gut and spends most of the film bleeding out. He has two specialties: lying and dying.

Dead Man Lying

Lie. That's literally all Orange does. Orange is the center of the big reveal—there's a rat in the house, and it's him.

The first set of lies involves what he needs to do to infiltrate the gang. We learn a lot about Orange from his extended flashback chapter. We learn that, while he's an undercover cop, he's not exactly what you (or Mr. Pink) would call a professional. We see him talking with his boy Holdaway in a diner and then practicing his lines on a rooftop. It doesn't look like he's done much of this kind of thing before.

What he is, apparently, is a good actor. With a little help from Long Beach Mike he lands the gig. His commode story ("commode" meaning "toilet," fyi) is so convincing that even we as viewers forget that it never actually happened. We visually see him walk in and start to think of him as Mr. Calm and Collected: a stone-faced cop pretending to be a stone-faced bad guy.

Really, though, none of that happened. It's all in his head… and now it's in Joe's head and our head. The way he pushes the button on the air dryer with such confidence, how he takes the time to make sure his hands are nice and dry, not even caring that at any moment he could be apprehended seems so real.

Orange lies until the very end. He makes up a story to explain why he shot Blonde—that Blonde said he'd kill Joe and Eddie and run off with the diamonds. Big mistake. Eddie knows how loyal Blonde was to his father. Orange's last lie: When Joe identifies him as the rat, he denies it all on his mother's eternal soul.

From Orange's perspective, all these lies are necessary for the greater good, which is to catch Joe Cabot and bust up his crime ring. After all, that's what undercover operations are all about: effective deception.

It's All Right, Ma, I'm Only Bleeding

During all of the present action in the film, Orange is either bleeding in the car or bleeding on the abandoned funeral home floor. He never gets up (though he does try at one point). He does some whining and yelling and panicking and pleading when he's still conscious; he knows he's dying and he's not stoic about it. At one point he tries to pull it together:

ORANGE: I was panicking for a minute back there, but I got my senses back now. Situation is I'm shot in the belly. Without medical attention, I'm going to die.

Orange's position is actually worse than just that. Getting shot in the gut hurts, but what hurts more is the knowledge that help is just around the corner (literally) but still out of reach. He knows that at any moment the police could storm the funeral home, take everyone by force, and rush him to a hospital. He also knows that this is never going to happen.

The cops are there for Joe and Joe alone, none of these small fries like White and Pink. Marvin, the other cop, is distraught about losing an ear and being mutilated. Orange's situation doesn't allow for a whole lot of sympathy as he responds, "F*** you! I'm f***ing dying here! I'm f***ing dying!"

Not So Cool After All

It's a revealing scene in Orange's apartment where he looks in the mirror before he goes to meet Joe. He closes the door with his finger in the same way we imagined himself turning on the air dryer. He looks in the mirror and tries to muster up as much confidence as possible.

ORANGE: Don't pussy out on me now. They don't know. They don't know s***. You're not going to get hurt. You're f***ing Baretta. They believe every f***ing word 'cause you're super cool.

He may tell himself that, but normally people who look in the mirror and say "you're super cool" are… not super cool.

While he's bleeding on the funeral home floor, Orange totally loses his cool. We can't blame him; he's scared to death. Like a little kid, he reaches out to White, who he now calls by name. He needs some human connection, and White provides it big time.

ORANGE: Larry… I'm so f***ing scared, man. Would you please hold me?

WHITE: Yeah, sure. It's all right. It's all right.

ORANGE: [moans in pain]

WHITE: You go ahead and be scared. You've been brave enough for one day. I just want you to relax now, okay? You're not going to f***ing die. You're gonna be fine. When Joe gets here, he'll make you 100% again.

ORANGE: I'm hurt. I'm hurt bad, Larry.

WHITE: It's not good. No.

ORANGE: Hey, Larry, bless your heart for what you're trying to do. I was panicking for a minute back there, but I got my senses back now. Situation is I'm shot in the belly. Without medical attention I'm gonna die.

Orange You Glad You're Not Mr. Orange

It's been a bad day for Mr. Orange. Moral dilemmas abound. He watches some civilians and fellow cops get killed, as well as seeing Brown take a bullet to the head. He's shot in the gut by a carjacking victim and has to kill her to keep up his cover. He even sees that the woman had a car seat in her car; he killed a mother. He makes the mistake of asking for White's name, making it much more unlikely that White would take him to a hospital.

After all the compassion White's shown him, imagine what he must have felt lying on the floor knowing White's trust in him was hugely misplaced. Best-case scenario would be that White would do some serious time after the police burst in and arrested the robbers.

However, it gets worse. Orange has to lie there watching Larry put his life on the line to defend him from the accusations of being a rat. Maybe that's punishment enough for all those lies.

While Orange might have shot himself in the foot by asking White's name, he shoots himself in the head by confessing to White that he is a cop, a cop that White just defended with his life, and because of whose lies White just killed two close friends.

We never actually see Orange take a bullet to the head, but the timing of the shots (one, then a slight pause, followed by a barrage of shots that hit White) tells us that there's no other interpretation that makes sense. Orange, in what must have been a seriously intense bout of guilt, has to confess his true identity to the man who, in only a very short period of time, has become a father-like figure to him. It's really the only intimate relationship that the film develops.

Poor Orange; it's a tragic end.

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