Pulp Fiction (1994)

"Dorks." - Quentin Tarantino to Harvey Keitel

Quentin Tarantino's follow-up to RESERVOIR DOGS is a brilliantly funny
series of sketches about professional criminals and their miraculous
second chances.  No sophomore slump here; PULP FICTION is a shoo-in for
sanction among critical and commercial audiences alike.

The stories number four and go something like this:  two lovers (Amanda
Plummer and Tim Roth) want to switch from heisting liquor stores to
robbing restaurants.  Meanwhile, a hitman named Vincent (John Travolta)
has been ordered to take the boss's wife (Uma Thurman) out to dinner.
Meanwhile, boxer Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) has been ordered to take
a dive in the fifth.  Meanwhile, Vincent and his partner Jules (Samuel
L.  Jackson) have to clean-up the mess from a "bad hit." Got it?

Said stories are presented both separately and out of order, and the
effect actually strengthens the suspense.  All is made clear in the last
hour, but, until then, the viewer is lured into a lurid limbo where no
one-- either in the audience or on-screen-- can even *imagine* what's
going to happen next.

While the direction is good, very good, nothing sizzles like the script.
Tarantino's prose overflows with some of the richest (and most
unprintable) dialogue of the decade.  Punctuating the obscenities are
pop references of every sort; from Madonna (of course) to "Le" Big Mac.

Close your eyes and see it a second time.

You could quibble on a couple points, such as the length of the third
segment.  But, oh those stories!  Here is a world where even the
smallest detail-- such as the unavailability of a "balloon"-- can
mushroom into the most catastrophic of consequences.  The violent
unpredictability of the Tarantino universe has never been more brutal.

With two exceptions, the ensemble is exceptional.  PULP FICTION marks
the umpteenth return of John Travolta, who gives a career performance as
the toilet-trained (don't ask) hitman Vincent Vega.  His partner, Samuel
L. Jackson, hits a higher note in the commanding role of Jules; he's so
cool, you can't take your eyes off him.

The two sore thumbs are Willis (too loose) and Tarantino (too stiff).
Better is Christopher Walken, who wanders through for one scene and one
delicious monologue.  He's almost as good as Harvey Keitel, who makes an
eleventh-hour appearance as the world's best-dressed janitor.

And, yes, that's Mr. Pink as Buddy Holly.

To those who strain to complain about the subject matter, all I can say
is, well, touche. PULP FICTION plays for laughs rape, racism, murder,
masochism, drug overdoses, Vietnam POWs, and, even the Bible.  If any of
the aforementioned offends, then this may not be best movie for you.
(Rated "R"/153 min.)

NOTE:  Film won the Best Picture award at this year's Cannes film
festival where the director gave the finger to a detractor during a
press conference.  Really.

BOTTOM LINE:  Best Picture, no question.  Not for the sensitive or

Grade: A

Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros

Home   |   Recommended   |   Reviews   |   Views   |   Letters   |   Links   |   FAQ   |   Search!

Please report problems to mike@legeros.com
Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros