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Original Film Poster

1994 film by director Quentin Tarantino

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The pinnacle of filmmaking

  • May 20, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+5
*POSSIBLE SLIGHT SPOILERS WITHIN*

Quentin Tarantino burst out of nowhere with 1992's RESERVOIR DOGS. After wowing audiences and critics alike with that film, he took a two-year hiatus to make his next movie. Then, in 1994, Tarantino unleashed upon the world PULP FICTION. Though its budget was a measly $8,000,000, PULP FICTION wound up grossing nearly $108,000,000 in the U.S. alone. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won one (Best Original Screenplay for Tarantino and his pal Roger Avary); it also took home the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival.

None of these things, however, come close to really expressing how grand a film PULP FICTION is. It is not only one of the absolute finest movies ever made; it is the pinnacle of great filmmaking. Tarantino is infatuated with every aspect of filmmaking, and his love for the medium radiates from each and every image in this movie. It takes more than infatuation to make a great film - it takes talent as well. Thankfully, Tarantino is just as talented at moviemaking as he is infatuated with it.

PULP FICTION is, more than anything, a throwback to the cheap old noir tales of the 50's. Scenes which take place in vehicles use a purposefully old-fashioned and cheesy background projection. The outstanding soundtrack is made up almost entirely of classic surfer music and 50's tunes, though there's also tunes from Dusty Springfield, Kool & The Gang, and Al Green. The three stories which make up the bulk of the film are old-fashioned as well; they are certainly pulp fiction.

The first of these stories stars John Travolta as hitman Vince Vega, who is assigned to take care of his boss' wife (played by Uma Thurman) while the boss is out of town. Naturally, things don't go exactly as planned. Vince begins to wonder if he's falling for Mia (the wife) - then she O.D.'s, and it's up to Vince to save her. This leads to one of the film's best and most gruesome sequences. Travolta is better than he's been in years, and Thurman is delightful as Mia.

The second story revolves around boxer Butch, played by Bruce Willis. Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) - Vincent's boss and the head of the local mob - fixes a boxing match and pays Butch to go down in the fifth round. The problem is, Butch's pride gets the best of him, and rather than losing the match and retiring to the Caribbean he finds himself planning an escape with his girlfriend, Fabienne (Maria de Medeiros). Again, things don't go as planned: Butch discovers that his watch, passed down from his great-grandfather to his grandfather to his father while each was at war, has been left at his apartment. Willis is superb; there's great chemistry between he and Medeiros' character (whom is, by the way, irresistibly sweet and innocent). Rhames seems invulnerable as the sinister Marsellus Wallace. Also great is Christopher Walken, who opens the segment with a very amusing speech about the importance of Butch's watch. The highlight of this segment is a sequence in which Butch, searching for a weapon, comes across a hammer. He grips it, getting a feel for it - then he notices something else. He picks it up and we see it's a baseball bat. Again, he gets a feel for it, but he sets it down when he notices a chainsaw. Just when it looks like he's satisfied, he looks up and his jaw drops. Butch has discovered a beautiful samurai sword (which would have a far larger part in Tarantino's next masterpiece, 2003's KILL BILL: VOL. 1).

In the third and final segment, Travolta returns as Vince, working with his partner, Jules (Samuel L. Jackson). When Vince accidentally blows out someone's brain in the back of Jules' car ("Oh man," exclaims Travolta, "I shot Marvin in the face!") in the center of L.A. in broad daylight, the two hitmen take refuge in the home of Jimmy (played by Quentin Tarantino himself). Jimmy's not very happy about having a corpse in his garage, and his wife is going to be home in an hour and a half. So they call in "The Wolf" (Harvey Keitel), a smooth, super-cool guy who thinks he can solve the problem in no time. This is arguably the finest segment, thanks to many laugh-out-loud moments. Jackson gives the finest performance of his career, and Keitel seems as cool and confident as one can. It's the perfect way to close the film.

As with most of Tarantino's other films, PULP FICTION is told in non-linear fashion. This is a very clever technique which makes the film twice as interesting. Each of the stories interweave to create one big seamless masterpiece. Tarantino's screenplay is truly wonderful and features some of the very best dialogue ever written. In fact, Tarantino's screenplay is one of the best of all time: original, over-the-top, and darkly humorous. I found myself struck also by the cinematography, which is truly excellent. Each scene is captured from just about every possible angle. It really spices up the film and helps keep you mesmerized for the entire 154-minute runtime.

How can a film be this good? There is no grand statement here, no deeper meaning - just three simple crime stories. It's Tarantino's dedication that makes PULP FICTION so good. The acting is superb, the editing seamless, the script outrageous and original, the soundtrack classic, the cinematography magnificent. It's a masterpiece that is undoubtedly one of the ten best films ever made - it may even be number one. The rave reviews, the awards, the fans, these things cannot give one the slightest idea of how truly outstanding PULP FICTION really is. If you have not seen it, then you musn't hesitate to rush out to the nearest video store and watch it. It's a move that no true moviegoer will regret.

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More Pulp Fiction reviews
review by . November 07, 2010
One of the all time best
   This is my favourite film, and in my opinion, the greatest film ever made. Every time I watch it, I can't find a single flaw. From the diner at the beginning, through to Brett's apartment, Butch's fight, Vince Vega's night out, right through to the hostage situation, it's perfectly scripted, plotted and paced.      Quentin Tarantino, my favourite director after this and Reservoir Dogs, is at his finest with this staggering film. Every camera move …
review by . May 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     If there's anyone to take pop culture and flip it to a whole other side, it's Quentin Tarantino. In a world of darkness and unoriginality in the film industry, Tarantino is there to remind us of what cinema is all about; and he does this just about every time he makes a movie. He has made great films, although "Pulp Fiction", a film which is almost unanimously known as a masterpiece, is his best. And it's also one of the best films I have seen as of now, …
review by . July 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This is by far my favorite movie of all time.  I have to admit I only saw it for the first time a few years ago but have loved it ever since.  I watch it a ton and it makes me laugh every time.  I really love all the different story lines and how Tarantino ties them together.  It's fascinating that you never find out what is in the briefcase too.  I love Sam Jackson and although I am not a huge fan of John Travolta, I love the two of them together.  I think they …
Quick Tip by . August 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Tarentino is the bomb! I especially love the several situational vignettes he uses in the movie. Love the dialogue in this movie. Great acting as well!!!
Quick Tip by . August 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
aahhhaaaa i finally get it! after my third time watching it the plot finally caught up to me lol
Quick Tip by . August 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The wonderful 2nd feature & surely his milestone that will never be bettered.
Quick Tip by . August 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Tarantino's blockbuster drama in 94 was hyped to me to the point that it could only fail. It has it's moments for me but it's writing and energy impressed legions and inspired numerous knockoffs for years to come as well as inspiring the way movies are looked at and made. I acknowledge all of this, but still got rubbed the wrong way with it's graphic drug use. If I'm brave I will watch it again.
review by . March 18, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Opening Titles
WARNING: This review contains spoilers!   Note: In my summary of the plot I have put the film's story into chronological order so that events unfold sequentially. This is not the order in which the events of the film are actually shown.   After the unexpected success of his first film, Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino set out to create his follow-up film, Pulp Fiction, which would prove to be a milestone in his career and would become one of the best films of the decade. Pulp Fiction …
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Def. a Modern Classic. QT is on key with his second direction.
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Alot of people talk about how this movie revitalized John Travolta's career, but the best parts of this movie are the roles played by Harvey Kietel and Samuel L. Jackson. The movie may push the limits for some viewers, but whatever reality it is in which this story takes place, it is an interesting place to watch. A solid movie.
About the reviewer
Tom Benton ()
Ranked #349
Aspiring high school English teacher with dreams of filmmaking and a strong taste for music.
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Pulp Fiction
is a crime drama film released on October 15, 1994 and produced by Miramax Films. The film was directed and written by QuentinTarantino and assisted by Rober Avary.  Pulp Fiction was produced by Lawrence Bender, and starred John Travolta, Uma Thurman, BruceWillis, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, maria de Medeiros, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette and Christopher Walken.

Pulp Fiction tells the story of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife and a pair of diner bandits that intertwine in four cases of violence.  After its release the film received 40 nominations, and celebrated 43 wins and an Academy Award in 1995for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directy for the Screen.

 It was given an MPAA rating of R and runs 154 minutes.


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