Reservoir Dogs starts off in a diner, with a bunch of guys joking around with each other. Most of them are dressed in suits and ties, so it seems like there might be some special occasion. They talk about songs and women, tipping, and Madonna lyrics. They curse a lot.
Suddenly, we're in a car with a clean white interior. Clean except for an inordinate amount of blood courtesy of Mr. Orange, who's lying in the back seat, shot in the gut. Mr. White is holding his bloody hand, trying to comfort him. They make it to a safe house, which seems to be an abandoned funeral home. Orange is dying and pleading and White's doing his best to take care of him.
Mr. Pink shows up acting all agitated, insisting that they were set up (apparently they were stealing some diamonds) and that they need to book it. White begs him to get some medical attention for Orange, who's bleeding to death on the floor. We get a flashback of Pink shooting his way out of the heist, a briefcase of diamonds in tow. He drags a woman out of her car and drives off. White and Pink would like to kill Mr. Blonde, who went crazy during the heist and started shooting everyone, attracting the attention of a large contingent of cops.
We get a quick backstory on White, who seems to be an old friend of Joe, the man who's running this operation. Back in the funeral home, Pink's furious at White for telling the dying Orange his name, and the two men start fighting. White still wants a doctor for Orange. Enter Mr. Blonde, the guy who started shooting the place up during the robbery. White starts in on Blonde, which doesn't seem to bother Blonde one bit. He says he has a surprise for them in the trunk.
The surprise is a cop. They take him inside; this can't be good for the cop. They want information on the rat that set them up.
We get a flashback on Blonde as he visits with Joe and Nice Guy Eddie, Joe's son. Blonde is like a brother to Eddie and like a son to Joe. He just got out after doing some years in the can. Now Eddie and Joe are talking about setting him up with a "job."
When we come back to the present, Pink and White are beating on the kidnapped cop when Eddie walks in. Eddie is none too happy. He insists that Blonde isn't crazy, and that there was no setup. When White, Pink, and Eddie leave to hide their cars, Blonde gets some alone time with the cop and the bleeding and unconscious Orange.
Blonde cuts off the cop's ear and then pours gasoline all over him. Just as he's about to light him up, Orange wakes up and pops multiple caps in him. Blonde dies and Orange tells the kidnapped cop that he's actually a cop, too. The other cop knows that.
We've found our rat.
Now it's Orange's turn for a flashback. We see him meeting in a diner with a superior of his, telling him that it looks like he's on the inside for Joe's next job. Seems like Joe is some big fish criminal they've been looking to fry for some time. Orange's buddy gives him a story to memorize, one with details that'll make him seem like the bad dude he's pretending to be. We see Orange practice the story over and over and as he's telling it to Joe and Eddie and White in a bar, we see it in action as if it really happened.
The story: He's selling marijuana for a friend and walks into a bathroom with a bag of weed. There are four sheriffs and a German shepherd in the bathroom; the dog's barking at him. Orange composes himself, takes a pee, washes and dries his hands, and heads out.
Joe must've liked the story, because he lands the job.
Then we see Orange practicing his story. Pink, White, and Eddie pick him up and they meet with Joe. Joe gives them each color names; it's game time. Flashback to White and Orange getting to know each other better as White tells him about how the heist will go down. We see Orange get the call but we don't see the robbery.
Instead, we see the aftermath. Mr. Brown crashes the getaway car and dies from a bullet wound to the head. White and Orange try to hijack a young woman's car but she shoots Orange in the gut before Orange shoots her back. Then we're in the car again where we started, with Orange crying and bleeding and White driving.
Back in the present, Eddie and White and Pink return to find Blonde dead. Orange tells the truth about Blonde torching the cop, but Eddie just shoots the cop. Orange says that Blonde was going to shoot the others when they came back to the funeral home and escape with the stash.
Nice try, Orange.
Eddie doesn't believe for a sec that a man willing to do four years rather than rat on his father would betray them. Joe finally shows up and says that Orange is the rat; he just knows it. White doesn't believe him and threatens to kill Joe if he kills Orange. They all get into a standoff over Orange, guns drawn and pointed at each other. They all open fire at the same time; Joe and Eddie are shot dead and White's mortally wounded. Orange is still dying. Pink books it out of there with the diamonds. Orange tells White he's actually a cop. White shoots Orange and then is shot by the police. Yeah, everyone but Pink is dead.
We've gone from an opening scene of these guys joking and debating at the diner to a standoff in the funeral home, where the ones who haven't already been killed are all pointing guns at each other. It's a brilliant structure. How we got to this point is what this movie's about.