Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson , Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Quentin Tarantino, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Christopher Walken
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr 34 min
Two years after the excellent Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino returns with Pulp Fiction. A set of separate yet interrelated stories with a narrative structure played out of sequence. Shot in and around the concrete jungle that is Los Angeles County in Southern California, Pulp Fiction brings a lot of the same elements to the screen as Reservoir Dogs, but this time there’s a notable increased polish to the production and screenplay.
That screenplay (that earned Quentin Tarantino an Oscar) is the real star of this film. From conversations about the hidden sensual meaning behind foot massages, to the level of charm a pig would have to show in order for Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) to consider eating bacon. Tarantino’s script is layered, very funny, yet always manages to link back into the larger story being told.
I also love the performances in Pulp Fiction, and appreciate the time and space given to each actor to properly flesh out their characters. John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson are perfect as the pair of enforcers who work for the gangster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames), and Bruce Willis is great as an aging boxer looking to make his last fight count.
The film is just …. cool. A lot of movies I find seem desperate to please, yet strangely don’t trust their audiences enough to take chances. Quentin Tarantino doesn’t do that at all, and that for me is the mark of a genius film director. Someone who writes and produces stories we didn’t realize we wanted to see. Films that challenge the status quo, and influence writers and directors for years to come.
This film earns a R rating though its depiction of drug use, rape and violence. The language can also get a little colorful, but these elements serve the story and don’t become overblown and gratuitous. Also, don’t worry about the out of sequence time-line since this film works as a set of three key individual plots. At times Pulp Fiction feels like a collection of cool short stories, so where they fall within the overall time-line of the film is unimportant.
LA County doesn’t make for great visuals in this movie, but if a movie theater were screening this again it would benefit from the big screen. At home a HD viewing on your TV is recommended.
Best Moments: << mild Spoilers >>
I mentioned two of the conversations above, but in addition to that I did enjoy Vincent’s (John Travolta) and Mia’s ( Uma Thurman) visit to Lance’s (Eric Stoltz) house to get an adrenaline shot. I also got a kick out of Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) watch speech. The soundtrack to Pulp Fiction is also worth mentioning too.