Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pulp Fiction (1994) Review

Pulp Fiction poster
Part of Merry Christmas and Happy Tarantino Month!

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken
Genre: Crime, Black Comedy

There's not much I can say about Pulp Fiction that hasn't already been said, but that's not going to stop me from trying.

The story is told out of chronological sequence (similar to Tarantino's previous film, Reservoir Dogs) and is divided into intersecting segments. We see the stories of prizefighting boxers, mob bosses, mob boss' wife, gangsters, and a variety of other characters. It's a plot that is really about the journey rather than the destination. Being a homage to old pulp fiction magazines (among many other things) you can be sure to expect your fair share of violence and humor.

As with all Tarantino films many of its elements are "borrowed" from other films. There's plenty of things that comes straight out of Psycho or Deliverance or Zardoz; the briefcase is very reminiscent of the briefcase in Kiss Me Deadly or the car trunk in Repo Man. There's countless references and homage shots (or perhaps not so countless after all), and Tarantino, somehow, manages to bring it all together with his own style and make it seem original. And I guess it is original in its own way.

The cast here is great and all deliver wonderful performances, as you'd expect from a Tarantino picture. Most would list Samuel L. Jackson as Jules as the stand-out performance. John Travolta (whose career was revitalized by Pulp Fiction), Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, and really everyone in here do fantastic jobs as well. The Christopher Walken cameo is great too.

The dialogue and writing are awesome. The majority of lines spoken in Pulp Fiction are quotable as hell. It can be witty, epic, funny, referential, and so on and so forth. It's really the characters that bring the film to life and the writing really make the characters shine. My favorite segment is the Jules and Mia one.

Uma Turman in Jack Rabbit Slim's in Pulp Fiction
Uma Thurman and John Travolta dancing in Pulp Fiction

The film has no original score, though the soundtrack is superb. With funky surf music, rock n roll, and even soul, every tune fits perfectly, compliments the film, and really pulls you in to the mood of the film. One of the greatest soundtracks ever. 

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson as Vincent and Jules in Pulp Fiction

What's the point of Pulp Fiction? Well, I'd honestly say that Pulp Fiction only exists so that it can show us how clever it is. To show us how fashionable it is or how many movie references it can make. It's an arrogant and mostly unintelligent movie...but goddamn is it awesome. One of my all-time biggest guilty pleasures. You can't not enjoy yourself while watching this. A postmodernist masterpiece. But is it overrated? Oh, dear, yes it is; severely overrated. It's still great though and still gets an Amazingly Amazing rating from me. Am I just a huge sucker for Uma Thruman? Yeah, pretty much.

5/5 stars

Purchase Pulp Fiction on Amazon: Blu-Ray - DVD - Stream - Tarantino Collection - VHS - Soundtrack

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