Title: Pulp Fiction
MPAA: Rated R for graphic violence, drug use, pervasive language, and some sexuality
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth
Synopsis: The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.
What is there to say that hasn’t already been said about Pulp Fiction? Pulp Fiction is one of the greatest films of all time, and really changed the way people looked at independent films. Before Pulp Fiction, independent films were not taken seriously and looked at as just lower-budget movies that were not as good as their more higher-budget predecessors. Pulp Fiction really changed the game completely. Premiering at Cannes Film Festival in 1994, Pulp Fiction became an instant phenomenon of pop culture. It was critically acclaimed and made Quentin Tarantino a star. This movie launched the careers of such acclaimed actors as Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman, and revitalized the career of John Travolta. The cast for this film is pretty impressive, which is why it cost 5 million for the actors pay compared to the overall 8 MILLION dollars it took to make this movie. That is incredibly low for a film that is considered one of the greatest ever and is an exquisite piece of filmmaking. It’s hard to think of Pulp Fiction now as an independent film just because it is so well-known, but that’s just what it was. Pulp Fiction changed American filmmaking and became extremely influential. It is one of my favorite movies of all time and I’ll tell you just why I love it so much.
I will never forget the first time I watched this film. There is a reason why Pulp Fiction became an instant classic. It is so unique! The way Tarantino filmed this movie, using non-linear storytelling, was never really used before, and if it had, then never so efficiently. This film begins with what, in normal films, would be the climatic scene in the whole movie. However, as first time viewers we don’t know this yet. We are just watching two people talking at a diner. They ponder the idea of robbing the very diner they are in, and soon decide to go on with it. As soon as they threaten everyone then the opening credits roll. We don’t see these characters again until the very end of the movie. There is so many more interesting characters and stories still to tell, and somehow it all comes together brilliantly. We find out at the very end of the movie that Jules and Vincent (played by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta) are in that very same diner from the very beginning of the movie. This unfolds a fantastic scene between the characters that feels like a Mexican standoff scene from an old western. Tarantino’s knowledge of film and his use of other genres and techniques bleeds all over this film. The non-linear storytelling is so fascinating to behold, because it really forces the viewer to stay invested in the story. Every scene and every chapter of this film is important and all pays off once the entire movie is experienced as a whole. Tarantino does a great job of keeping the story interesting, so the viewer really doesn’t want the movie to end and can stay invested. This leads me to my next point.
I have never experienced better writing in a film than in Pulp Fiction. Written by Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction overflows with brilliant dialogue that feels natural, but at the same time extremely memorable. This film has some of the greatest movie quotes of all time. Hearing such phrases as “A Royale with cheese”, “Ezekiel 25:17”, and “That is a tasty burger” will immediately cause people to think of this film. As I mentioned before, the writing feels very natural. This film, as most other Quentin Tarantino films, contains a whole lot of dialogue. Most scenes are just conversations that characters have with each other, but it does not feel scripted at all. It really seems like you are actually watching real people having real conversations with each other, but you never get bored by watching them. Tarantino continues to amaze me time and time again with his incredible writing ability. Another thing I like about him is how he creates these extremely interesting, original characters. The stand-outs in this film are Jules Winnfield, Vincent Vega, and Mia Wallace. Personally my two favorites are Jules and Mia. Jules, played brilliantly by Samuel L. Jackson, is a menacing hit man who is this bad-ass guy feared by other characters, but is played with a lot of heart and passion by Jackson. By the end of this film, I somehow care deeply about this character, more than any other character in this film, and that is mainly due to the incredible performance by Samuel L. Jackson, which is still the best of his career. Mia Wallace is another stand-out, played perfectly by Uma Thurman. She is very intelligent, spontaneous, and the way she reflects on people and life is what makes her so captivating. Mia Wallace, just like many other characters in this film, is just very cool and memorable and that’s all thanks to the fantastic screenplay by Quentin Tarantino.
My last point of emphasis on why I love Pulp Fiction is the incredible soundtrack. Tarantino once said in an interview that he listens to music while he writes. This totally pays off in his films, especially in Pulp Fiction. Every song is absolutely PERFECT for what particular scene they are played in. The songs fit the style of the film perfectly and are just very good songs in general. To this day, whenever I hear songs like “Jungle Boogie”, “Let’s Stay Together”, and “Son of a Preacher Man”, I immediately think of this film. And I don’t just think of this film, but the exact scene in which the song is being played in. This is something very rare to do. Pulp Fiction truly has one of the greatest soundtracks ever put to film. It’s memorable, compelling, and refreshing just like the film itself.
Favorite scene: Wow, there are so many great scenes! However, if I had to choose just one than it would be the night out Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega have at the 50s themed restaurant. The conversation the two characters have is equally delightful as awkward. Nothing really happens in this scene, but it is so fascinating to watch. The chemistry is great with these actors, and the dialogue being spit out is so absorbing to take in. The scene ends with the famous twist contest that might just be the most light-hearted scene in the whole movie. It’s entertaining, funny, and authentic.