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Pulp Fiction (1994)

Its the 21st of May, 1994 and a young man called Quentin Tarantino takes the stage at the Cannes Film Festival to introduce his new movie: Pulp Fiction.

The rest is history, over 200 million dollars made in the USA alone and a great commercial and critical reception, a revitalized career for John Travolta (including an oscar nomination), and a new director on the block that had just cemented his name with ‘Reservoir Dog’s and ‘Pulp Fiction’.

Starting out in 1990, Quentin and Roger Avary (whom he met at the infamous Video Archives store they both visited) wrote a script which would turn out to be the basis of ‘Pulp Fiction’.

Quentin wrote the first part of the draft, with a middle section from Roger and an ending yet to be finished. Needless to say, they were on to something. The first part became ‘Reservoir Dogs’, Tarantino’s first outing as a director, and the Avary part of the script was to be the blueprint for the Gold Watch storyline in ‘Pulp Fiction’.

After finishing up ‘ Reservoir Dogs’, Quentin Tarantino finished the final script for ‘Pulp Fiction’ in May of 1993, and began shooting in the early fall. Pulp Fiction’s story is in essence three separate stories which, at some point, collide into one another. John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson play Vincent and Jules, two henchmen responsible for carrying out every order that Marsellus Wallace (portrayed by Ving Rhames) barks at them.
Then we have Bruce Willis as Butch, a boxer who agrees to take a dive for Marsellus in order to collect the bets on the boxing match Marsellus has organised for him.

Then we have a host of people involved in these stories, we get Mia (Uma Thurman) who is the wife of Marsellus, there’s Winston Wolfe (Harvey Keitel) who serves as the ultimate go-to guy when you blow some poor dude’s brains out. There’s two small-time crooks played by Rosanna Arquette and Tim Roth, We get Christopher Walken in a short supporting role, and many many more.
Ofcourse, to make matters even more complicated, the story is told non-linear and switches back and forth through all of it’s different characters.

Even if this makes it sound like there’s too much to get a grip on, it’s certainly done in such a skilled way that following the story will be no trouble at all. We get some clever crossovers between all of them, and a plethora of memorable scenes (which I wont elaborate on for spoiling those lucky few who haven’t seen this yet).
Quentin Tarantino has made himself into a household name over the years and chronicling back through all he’s done in the past, ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Reservoir Dogs’ stand out as the best work he’s done so far.

The dialogue is unbelievably witty and offbeat, the cinematography by Andrzej Sekula is constantly changing, with the only constant factor the sheer quality of it all, and the performances by all of the cast involved is of the highest standard.
Special praise goes to John Travolta who, at the time, had the ‘Look Who’s Talking’ trilogy behind his name and a lot, and I mean A LOT of bad movies. His performance as Vincent Vega is unbelievably good, very similar to his position in Hollywood back then, he comes across as a washed-up has been who wanders through life as a cynic.
His most memorable scene comes when he takes out Mia for a meal and ends up dancing with her.
It’s the John Travolta we have all come to know and love, dancing, laughing and charismatic as ever.

Lots more can be said about the movie but this truly is one to experience yourself.
Whether you’ll revisit it or see ‘Pulp’ for the first time, you’ll be in for one hell of a ride by a director who’s still very much active in the business of making kick-ass movies.
Be sure to pay attention to it’s multi layered story and take note of a simple fact which is overlooked by many:

What exactly was in that suitcase?

9/10 stars!



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