With a story that mostly takes place within one big room, hiding things from your audience can be difficult. They come to know the space so well that having something suddenly appear is basically impossible. However, Mr. Orange can go so undetected by the audience for long stretches of “Reservoir Dogs” due to his lack of involvement in the action. He’s this immovable puddle of blood, becoming part of the set design rather than a character. Quentin Tarantino wanted to harness that element of Mr. Orange in the story and upend it at the right time. Speaking with Film Comment back in 1994, he talked about how he didn’t need to hide Mr. Orange from the movie in order to make that moment work:
“One of the things about ‘Reservoir Dogs’ that really came off was how after a certain point you just forgot Orange was in the room. You can see him, he’s there, but his presence becomes this lump. It wasn’t like we even cheated by framing him out constantly so you get the illusion of being alone — Blonde actually goes over to him and still, he doesn’t make the impression. So when Orange shoots him it’s a real jolt.”
Not only does Mr. Orange need to leave your mind for that scene, but he also needs to leave your mind because he’s the undercover cop that has caused everything to go sideways. He isn’t taking part in the arguments about who the rat is and considering his wound, you immediately dismiss the idea that it’s him. Ultimately, Mr. Orange is the backbone of “Reservoir Dogs,” and it’s rather impressive he can be that when he’s out of commission for about half the movie. It seems simple, but that’s just because Tarantino executes it so well.