Here at the Toast, we kind of have a thing for director Quentin Tarantino, and quite possibly his best work was a little film called Pulp Fiction, perhaps you’ve heard of it? As part of the Quentin Tarantino Blogathon I decided to revisit the iconic classic.
The film is of course directed by Tarantino, starring John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, and briefly Christopher Walken. The movie follows three separate but interconnected plot lines. The first is led by Vincent Vega (John Travolta), the second follows Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) and then the third deals with Jules Winnfield (Samuel L Jackson). The plot is also not shot chronologically, it’s more a string of loosely connected events that comes full circle.
The screenplay of this film is it’s biggest achievement. There’s a certain magically complexity that seems to happen almost by accident. It’s just fun the way everything overlaps and sort of clicks. It isn’t the cookie-cutter story you seem to find nowadays, it’s something unique. The plot pulls the viewer in while never seeming to take itself too seriously. The director uses violence, racism, and interpersonal struggles without making it political or trying to establish any sort of underlying meaning, in a way, making these violent over-the-top scenes enjoyable to watch.
The acting is second to none; these actors are the true embodiment of their characters, to the point where the film would seem lacking if anyone else tried to play these parts. The way in which the characters interact with one another lends a certain realism and detail that is often overlooked. How often does a film show you the mundane conversation of two hired guns on their way to kill someone? This movie does.
The budget for this film was just under $10 million, in fact it’s listed at $8.5 million. The movie, however, doesn’t feel cheap in any sense of the word. You don’t get the feeling that corners were cut during production or that anything was left out. They make exceedingly good use of their budget and in a sense, add some realism to what could have been an overproduced mess.
The best thing about Pulp Fiction is the rewatchability. Because there are multiple plot lines all sort of interlinked and weaved together, you’re sure to see something you missed the previous viewing. There are also things that are left up to the viewer to piece together, what was in the briefcase? What does Jule’s bible passage really mean? As you watch this more and more you pick up on subtleties that are easy to overlook and have you questioning the way in which the characters behaved and who they really are.
At the end of the day, this is a truly fantastic film. There are scenes which transcend the screen and have entered into the national consciousness. You can watch this movie once a week for the rest of your life and never feel unhappy about it because you will always be discovering something new. The violence, the gore, the dialogue, nothing is gratuitous, everything just sort of works. Often you have movies which are good in the traditional sense and movies that are just sort of fun to watch, it’s rare that there is an overlap. Pulp Fiction is that overlap.