Study Guide

Reservoir Dogs Language and Communication

Language and Communication

For such a suspenseful movie, there is actually a surprisingly small amount of action in Reservoir Dogs. Think about it. We see Pink's escape. We see White and Orange's escape. Then there's the standoff at the end. That's about it. We never even get the heist itself.

The driving force of this movie isn't the action or the suspense, it's the dialogue. It's not a movie about a heist. It's a movie about people relating to each other: people laughing and joking with each other at the diner or in the car; people arguing and yelling about who did what and what they should do next. It's really more of a drama in the guise of an action movie, and that means that the language and other forms of communication are of the utmost importance.

Questions About Language and Communication

  1. What's at the center of the heist's failure and the post-heist debacle? Would better communication have solved the problem?
  2. How does dialogue drive the movie? Does it help to develop the characters in a traditional "character arc" sense?
  3. How does the film appear to be so violent and suspenseful when most of it (torture scene aside) is just talking?
  4. Should Quentin Tarantino have his mouth washed out with soap?

Chew on This

The proliferation of the F-word and the use of pop culture references are for the purpose of creating authentic dialogue. It's all an effort to capture how these characters would actually talk.

The proliferation of the F-word and the use of pop culture references are gimmicks that distract from the nature of the story. The F-word is simply meant to shock us while the pop culture references are so dated that even a couple decades after its release, no one gets them.

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