Pulp Fiction

Say what again!” – Jules Winnfield

Admit it. You want to know what was in that suitcase, too! Pulp fiction is an abstract movie that plays with a non-linear structure and dark humor. Three separate stories tied around the character of Marcellus Wallace shift and flow into each other through seven “chapters”, each story following a different character: Vincent Vega (played by John Travolta), Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) and Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis). Each of these stories is vivid and full of witty dialogue that keeps you hooked from start to finish.

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction was, from its release, undoubtedly a major success, both with critics and the public. It was nominated for seven Oscars (and managed to land one for Best Original Screenplay), and it has remained a movie praised as “one of the greatest of all time”, winning a boatload of other nominations and awards.

Each of our main characters faces a crisis. Jules Winnfield gets a spiritual awakening as he survives an onslaught of bullets, and sees it as a sign from God to put an end to his hitman lifestyle. Vincent Vega has to take Mia Wallace out, but she accidentally overdoses while she’s with him, so he has to save her. Boxer Butch Coolidge had been paid to take a dive in his match, but he chooses to win it instead, making Marcellus Wallace mad. Each of them has to work with a cast of side characters (played by some of the most recognizable actors of the era, such as Uma Thurman and Christopher Walken) to bring a resolution to their arc, and yet, a few things remain a mystery.

Like that suitcase.

Andrzej Sekuła’s cinematography is superb, and so is the editing and costume design. It’s crisp and colorful, so much so you wouldn’t believe the budget they had to work with. They stretched those $8 million so cleverly, you wouldn’t notice any difference between Pulp Fiction a much better-funded movie. In fact, we believe Pulp Fiction might come on top in such a competition.

Tarantino chose not to have a score written specifically for the movie. Instead, he used a mixture of rock and roll and pop music, with the most recognizable theme being Dick Dale’s version of Misirlou. A successful soundtrack was released, though, and it was as cool and over the top as Pulp Fiction itself.

It’s a stylish, daring and punchy movie. It justifies its title by being over the top, but never tasteless. It’s flashy and complex, a genuine representation of the 90s in cinema. There was nothing like it, so it was fresh and original and it created a reputation it still lives up to – a movie that stays funny and relatable with age.

This movie is not for everyone, though. Explicit scenes of violence, swearing, racism, and a confusing structure have been some of the complaints made against this movie. Some people think it’s overrated and unoriginal, and more like its inspiration – hardboiled crime novels and pulp magazines – than classic cinema. This is understandable. A lack of action scenes doesn’t help with those who wanted to see an action suspense flick, but we think that the intense dialogue more than compensates for this.

Still, even if you find those aspects too rough for your taste, you have to admit it’s an important movie, with some of the most iconic scenes in the history of cinema. Such is the scene of Jules reciting the Bible’s Ezekiel 25:17, or Vincent and Mia’s dance, or the revival of Mia with adrenaline after her overdose. A lot of the movie is mayhem, but it’s so well tied to memorable characters, that it simply works.

IMDb 4.4 /5
4.4 out of 5
Rotten Tomatoes 4.7 /5
4.7 out of 5
Rogue Cinema 4.9 /5
4.9 out of 5
Overall

Combined average

4.67out of 5

Good
4.67 out of 5
Category Action