Study Guide

Reservoir Dogs Violence

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Violence is a major feature of Reservoir Dogs, , as it is with most Tarantino films. The movie is centered around a failed armed robbery and its disastrous consequences. People get shot, killed, and tortured in some excruciatingly shocking scenes. While there are definitely those brutal, hard to watch scenes, the violence is more integral to the film than a few stomach-churning images.

Violence is a way of life to the characters. It's what they do in their jobs, and it seeps into their talk and their actions as they try to cope with the horrible situation in which they find themselves. We see how the catastrophic outcome of the failed heist unleashes the characters' violent behavior as they blame each other and try to understand what happened. The unremitting violence in the film leaves the viewers feeling pretty beaten up themselves. Hmm… there's an essay in there somewhere.

Questions About Violence

  1. What role does verbal violence play in the film?
  2. Why does Tarantino choose not to explore the backstory to these guys' violent lives?
  3. Tarantino has insisted that movie violence doesn't lead to violent behavior on the part of people that watch it. Do you think he can have an objective view? Did your family hide the steak knives when you came home from the theater?

Chew on This

Blonde's brand of violence is the worst. It's without any purpose other than his own demented pleasure.

The LAPD's handling of the crime was completely unethical. By allowing the heist to occur in order to get to Joe, they endangered the lives of not only their own employees but of innocent civilians.

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