Released in 1994, Pulp Fiction was to become one of the most influential and dramatic films of the 1990s, providing a strikingly bold mixture of dark humour, pop-culture and gang violence. The film follows the four closely intertwined tales of two mob hit men: a gangster’s wife, a boxer who throws a fight and two small-time thieves. Into this unoriginal line up of archetypal cinema characters, Quentin Tarantino injects a life and energy which bolsters the film, sprinkling it with a stinging sense of reality, giving the picture an essence of believability and a realism magically coupled with effortlessly cool overtones. Tarantino’s decision to combine multiple narratives was a stroke of genius, and allowed for the creation of intense feelings of expectation and curiosity to pervade the film’s long duration, something which would not have been achieved had the story been told in a linearity.
Pulp has the feel of a cult movie, with the strange attribute of being appealing and accessible to the majority of people. The witty script makes for a sometimes fast-flowing, impacting dialogue, most famously encapsulated by the distinct, harsh notes of Samuel L. Jackson’s hard-hitting delivery. This accompanies a sometimes surprising profundity and reflection, a tone raised in a fairly light and subtle style – most notably in Mia (Uma Thurman) and Vincent’s (John Travolta) dinner date – acting as a refreshing contrast to the overriding theme of violence throughout the film. The scenes are strewn with great moments by all the key actors (Travolta, Jackson, Bruce Willis, Thurman), working at the height of their profession; a striking collective effort from all involved.
The stunning soundtrack adds to the suaveness of the picture, incorporating a multitude of songs which enhance the feel and the essence of the movie, headlined by the distinguishing opening score. Even when the onus is not placed on the music, there’s always the backdrop of a perfectly chosen tune to flawlessly match the mood of the scene.
This movie gripped generations with its raw confidence and dynamic script, a film unsurpassed in the crime genre, a film so sure of itself and so successful, that even Tarantino’s pitiful cameo goes overlooked in this maelstrom of brilliance.
Fantastically written and wonderfully cool, Pulp Fiction swaggers its way confidently into the annals of cinema history.
Good Points- Brilliant script, brilliant music, brilliant acting.
Bad Points-Tarantino should stay firmly seated in his director’s chair and leave the acting to the actors.