If one watches a David Mamet written and directed film, such as Heist (2001), Spartan (2004), or House of Games (1987), it will quickly become apparent that the dialogue is, well, different. Often times very jarringly so.

According to the wiki page, "Mamet speak" is cynical, street-smart edge, precisely crafted for effect."

Why do some of his movies tend to take the Mamet style over the top? The dialogue should flow, and like in real life, parts speak over each other, yet in the movies listed, when that happens it's like the director says "now speak over him and make it OBVIOUS you are."

I'm hoping there is a real Mamet fan here who can maybe shed some light on how better to 'get' Mamet.

  • While I understand what you mean, I also have a hard time making out the actual question you're asking. But if phrased more clearly, this doesn't necessarily need to be closable.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 2, 2014 at 14:53
  • I'm going to delete this (for now) and come up with a more coherent question on Mamet.
    – CGCampbell
    Sep 2, 2014 at 15:03
  • Is there any news on the revival of this question or a possible successor to it?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jul 19, 2015 at 23:08
  • Not really. I'll spend some time on it to (hopefully) improve it. I still know what I wanted to ask; I'm just having trouble word-smithing it.
    – CGCampbell
    Jul 20, 2015 at 12:45
  • 1
    All artists have their own style. This is Mamet's.
    – DA.
    Jul 20, 2015 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia seems to cover this quite well:


The specific quote directly from Mamet:

When asked how he developed his style for writing dialogue, Mamet said, "In my family, in the days prior to television, we liked to while away the evenings by making ourselves miserable, based solely on our ability to speak the language viciously. That's probably where my ability was honed."

That's simply Mamet's style. It's how he likes to write dialog.

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