Pulp Fiction (1994)

23 Feb

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Smith’s Verdict: ****

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who must truly love movies. And he obviously loves making them. It’s as if someone gave him a computer and a camera, and he started right away on a script and film, aching to make a movie (much like a kid that plays with his toys). You can definitely see in “Pulp Fiction,” which he co-wrote and directed, that he wanted to get every shot and every story detail just right to create a masterpiece.

Well, he definitely succeeded there. And if he hasn’t, then he definitely didn’t bore me with “Pulp Fiction,” a movie about…basically, everything from gore to violence to sex to drugs to whatever. Tarantino couldn’t possibly bore anybody with “Pulp Fiction”—he’s too gifted a filmmaker to do so. He does many complicated things with “Pulp Fiction” and it’s amazing how he’s able to pull them all off. This movie shows us one series of characters and situations, then another series, then another, and then it almost blends them all and the movie sort of doubles back on you before it’s over. These characters live in a world of crime and danger, but also excitement and intrigue.

John Travolta is Vincent Vega and Samuel L. Jackson is his partner Jules. They are hit men working for a crime boss to carry out assignments that end in death for the people they are assigned to visit. But what Tarantino does is sensational—he allows these characters to talk before and during their assignments. For example, on their way to visit somebody they’re supposed to receive a mysterious briefcase from, Vega and Jules discuss why they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris a “Royale with cheese” because of their metric system. And just when it seems like action is going to happen, it’s delayed and what happens? They still talk, giving pointless conversation, but also comic timing and somewhat realism. I loved listening to these characters talk. And throughout this movie is plenty of great dialogue written by Tarantino and Roger Avery.

It’s interesting how these characters are played out. Vega doesn’t clean up after himself, probably because he doesn’t know how, but he knows plenty of people who are able to help him out, some of them involuntarily. There’s another complicated character—a boxer named Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) who was ordered to throw a fight, but doesn’t, so he leaves with his sweet girlfriend (Maria de Medeiros) right away. Of course she doesn’t understand why. And then there’s the watch that Butch was given which becomes an important part of Butch’s story. The story of that watch is told in a flashback through a monologue by Christopher Walken and gives the film its biggest laugh. Then there’s the outlaw couple played by Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer who also talk before robbing a restaurant in the beginning and end of the movie. And then there’s the wife of the crime boss (Uma Thurman) whom Vega is paid to take on a night of the town. This results in a wonderfully tense sequence in which Vega is forced to take her to his friend’s house after she overdoses on heroin. He has to give her an injection of adrenaline straight into her heart. His friend (Eric Stoltz) says, “You brought you here! You give her the shot!” That scene is sensationally well-written and well-crafted. I could watch that scene over and over again. And almost all of the scenes in this movie are inventive and original. Another great thing about this movie is I never knew from one point to the next what was going to happen…and then something bigger happens.

“Pulp Fiction” is a great film to watch and a great film to listen to. It’s truly a film that shows what a great filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is, and how great it came to be in the years since. I loved every minute of “Pulp Fiction.”

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