Movie Review: Pulp Fiction
Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is one of the most daring, puzzling, and ultimately exciting pieces of cinema to hit the screen in years. As wholly original as it is a copy of hundreds of films before it about tales of hit-men and criminals, it dares you to step out of the dull and enter a colorful, exhilarating world that could only be Los Angeles. The intensity level of the movie is off the scale. People are laughing like crazy in the theater to the intelligent dialog and other scenes that have the audience gasping for air in shock over what just happened. Although one might say that Pulp Fiction is overly violent and disturbing, it is in fact, one of the greatest movies ever produced. Quentin Tarantino’s incredible screenplay, the intensity of the actors, and music to set the mood, created movie worthy five stars.
Pulp Fiction is rebellious in the way that it manipulates all usual plot structures by twisting time to satisfy its own system. The film tells a series of interlocking stories involving; two hit-men, a boxer and his French girlfriend, a crime boss and his mischievous wife, a small time drug dealer, two lovebird robbers, and two hillbilly rapists. However, all these stories revolve around three main plots; Vincent (John Travolta) taking the crime boss’s wife out (Umma Thurman), the crime boss asks the boxer (Bruce Willis) to throw out the boxing match, and the two lovebirds decision and outcome about robbing a restaurant. All of these stories added to the mixture of comical violence and the fascinatingly vulgar dialogue create the elements for one of the most shamelessly entertaining film of all time. Part of the genius of this film is the way Tarantino manipulates the conventional plot structure to make the impossible possible. It is an odd phenomenon how he could alter time so intentionally, yet finish with a product that is not only easily understood, but flows more smoothly than it would have it he had told it in a linear fashion.
The intense acting in the movie Pulp Fiction, as well as the narration, is another aspect that made the movie as great as it was. The two hit-men, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), make the best screen pair. Travolta and Jackson play off each other with perfect timing and relaxed ease, carrying on intriguing conversations about the slight differences between Europe and America, “In Paris, you can buy a beer in McDonalds,” the nature of miracles, and the relative importance of foot-messages. In a way Travolta and Jackson deliver the defined dialogue written by Tarantino, which makes even the most ordinary people both hilarious and fascinating. Travolta is, indeed, very good as Vincent, but the fact that he has perhaps the most screen time of the whole cast also helps. The standout, however, is Samuel L. Jackson. His Biblical quoting, profanity- filled speeches are, by turn, magnetic and hilarious. Jules is a no-nonsense hit-man whose life is on the line every day, but a moment of shock makes him question his profession. His manner of swearing has almost become state-of-the-art, if one is allowed to highlight such a thing. There probably are not many actors who can deliver the “F” word as compellingly as Samuel.
Although the acting in Pulp Fiction is memorable, the music impacted the movie equally as much. The collection of songs and instruments are perfectly suited to the scenes, style and mood of the film as to almost become part of the seduction. A particular stand out is when Vincent arrives to pick up Mia for their night out. The music is so clam and puts the audience right in to the mood of the film that you cannot help but feel the intensity and passion that the characters are feeling. Tarantino has chosen just the right songs for this and makes a great film even better.
Pulp Fiction is a movie that may not have won any Academy awards for its excellence; but, one cannot help but remember the incredible narration and be in awe by how it is presented in a way like no other before it. The screen writes are original, the ensembles of actors for each role, from Samuel L. Jackson to Umma Thurman, is outstanding and the music that presents the feeling to the audience is compelling. There is no question about how this film keeps you on your toes, thinking about what is going to happen next. Pulp fiction is a movie, in my opinion, that will withstand the test of time; it is for this reason I gave it 5 stars.