Study Guide

Reservoir Dogs Madness

Madness

Whether habitual criminals like these guys are just bad or seriously mentally ill has been hotly debated. Some criminals can be psychotic, out of touch with reality—we're thinking Blonde. Most fall into the category of psychopath, the new official name of which is "antisocial personality"— the classic symptoms include total disregard for the rights of others, no guilt, no empathy, often charming and cool, disposed to be impulsive, manipulative, and violent.

We think the guys in Reservoir Dogs  fit the bill. Like we mentioned before, Tarantino is uninterested in how the guys got to be this way. That doesn't mean the viewer isn't wondering about it, however.

Questions About Madness

  • Why does Joe return to the abandoned funeral home? He says himself that he knows Orange is a rat. Why risk his life by going someplace the cops surely know about?
  • Who's the craziest of them all? Is it Blonde, who will torture just because it amuses him?
  • What drives the robbers? Is it greed? Adrenaline? Are some people just natural-born killers? (Bonus fact: Tarantino wrote the original screenplay for the movie of that name.)

Chew on This

Just because someone engages in criminal behavior doesn't make them crazy. They just might have learned it from their family, especially if their family's name is Gambino or Bulger.

Even though Mr. Blonde is the most blatantly cruel and Mr. White shows compassion to Mr. Orange, all professional criminals are psychopaths or it would be impossible for them to do their jobs.

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