Pulp Fiction (1994)

4/5

USA; Quentin Tarantino

 

Mature Audiences - Strong Bloody Violence; Pervasive Strong Language; Hard Drug Use; Sexuality

 

 

Tarantino’s cult 1994 hit weaves four wild and over-the-top tales of violence, redemption, vengeance and… luck, as it follows two buddies ( John Travolta and Smuel L. Jackson) send on a kill mission by their mobster boss, a dogged boxer  (Bruce Willis) on the run, the wife of the said gangster  (Uma Thurman) who experiences a far from pleasant “trip” when sniffing some white powder found in the pocket of a raincoat, and a couple of losers who commit a hold-up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

Tarantino loves classic gangland flicks, such as Hollywood was churning out in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Violence, attitude, ice-cool scumbags, the whole lot. But, judging from the demented exhilaration with which he tears up the gangster film rulebook, his love is a truly perverse one. One wouldn't have expected less from Tarantino! More grisly violence, more über-cool machismo, even wicker scumbags and a constant flow of profane quotes: Pulp Fiction inflates a good old mobster yarn into something absolutely delirious, a no-hold-barred, insanely violent, pitch-black and endlessly quotable postmodern brew of pop-culture and cult cinema.

 

Maybe Tarantino’s neatest trick is how he infuses warmth into this blazing structure; for once, cool doesn’t equal with heartless. The scenes showcasing Travolta and Jackson as two murderous, yet strangely sympathetic, blunderers are just brilliant, as quirkily, bitterly and vilely hilarious as a black comedy can get, yet irrigated by a genuine, transcendent feeling of love for its lewd, imperfect, but all-too-human characters. Bruce Willis’ story unfortunately goes much less smoother and comparable crackling moments only too sparsely occur.

 

“After that, in Hollywood any idea was a good idea” insinuated Robert Rodriguez. It was a definitively subtle way of putting a less flattering reality, which may be a screechy scrape in the ears of Tarantino’s fans: Pulp Fiction is not a film of great depth, or of astounding ambition. But it looks great, and sounds better. Final words must go to a terrific, heated soundtrack, certainly one of the most electric in film history.

 

Luxuriously unhurried, yet of an unparalleled frenzy, Pulp Fiction is a hybrid, campy and brassy object, a steamroller of a movie, a rock opera at its most grandiose; popcorn cinema at it's most ecsatic, violent heights. Enormously entertaining, even if ultimately ever so slightly hollow.

 

Pulp fiction1

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