‘Pulp Fiction’ is a 1994 movie written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It won 70 awards, the most important ones being the Oscar for The Best Writing & Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and a Golden Globe for The Best Screenplay.
Pulp Fiction follows four narratives that intertwine in a non-linear fashion, blurring the lines between morality and violence. On one side we have the mob chief Marcellus Wallace and his new wife, Mia. Enter Butch, a retiring boxer who has an unfinished job with Marcellus. Then we have Vincent and Julian, two hitmen who have to retrieve Marcellus’ briefcase. On top of that, add a couple of diner bandits who try to steal said briefcase on a sunny morning. These unrelated characters briefly interact, changing each others’ lives in unexpected ways that will keep the viewers on the edge of their seats.
Tarantino tends to work with the same actors in more than one project, so we see familiar faces in ‘Pulp Fiction’ such as Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman. The cast also includes John Travolta, Bruce Willis, and Ving Rhames. Moreover, Tarantino himself has a cameo in one of the storylines. To see more information about the movie, head to the Pulp Fiction IMDb page.
Before getting on with the review, I must add that this movie contains graphic depictions of physical, verbal, and sexual violence, substance abuse, and also vulgar language, so you might want to brace yourself before hitting the ‘play’ button.
I first watched it in my first year of university and I have seen it a few times since then. It’s one of those movies you never grow tired of, you know?
One of my favorite aspects was the chaotic timeline because I enjoyed piecing the puzzle together at the end. It gave me a chance to see the protagonists interacting in various circumstances more or less professionally, thus showing different sides of their personality.
Now, about the brutal elements I warned you about: I was completely fine with everything. Yes, things went out of hand; yes, things got messy, but that’s exactly what I was looking for in a Tarantino movie. I think all the gun action and sheer violence make the characters more believable and depict the reality they live in.
The stellar cast gave an outstanding performance, hence the numerous nominations for leading and supporting roles. I appreciated every character for a certain reason, but my favorite was Jules. Played by the legendary Samuel L. Jackson, the hitman kept his cool after a very busy and disturbing workday thus saving both his and his partner’s life. He delivered his speeches with such passion that I forgot I couldn’t help but root for him.
The best scene, in my opinion, was Vincent and Mia’s night out. It was a welcomed pause from all the shooting, featuring one of the most iconic dance numbers in modern cinematography. You could see the characters enjoying themselves in a good old-fashioned bar. Mia’s iconic line perfectly describes the atmosphere:
‘That’s when you know you’ve found somebody special. When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence’.
This movie isn’t for everybody. There is no distinct ending – happy or otherwise. There is no profound lesson to be discovered. Maybe some people can’t get past the seemingly random dialogue from the first scene. Others might condemn the lack of actual plot and I understand that too.
But if there’s one thing that it’s worth learning from ‘Pulp Fiction’, it’s this: do not wave your gun around while you’re in a car. The movie demonstrates the pointlessness of violence in an entertaining way, taking a jab at gun politics in The United States. Unfortunately, a large part of the population didn’t get the message. Almost thirty years later, some things have changed, but not necessarily for the best.
Due to its interesting stories, vivid characters, brilliant dialogue, and unpredictable situations, I think that ‘Pulp Fiction’ has stood the test of time.
And if this kind of movie isn’t your cup of tea, you could try the 2015 romance
Love Rosie instead.