Pulp Fiction DVD
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Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Produced in 1994
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
A crackling script, fast paced direction, fine performances from a great cast and a superb soundtrack make Pulp Fiction compulsive and essential viewing.
Writer and director Quentin Tarantino's hugely successful follow-up to 'Reservoir Dogs' melds three dime-store stories set in lowlife LA into one cohesive thriller. Butch (Bruce Willis) is an over-the-hill boxer paid to take a fall, who instead does a runner with mobster Merselius's money. Meanwhile, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are two hitmen who aren't having the easiest of mornings, and Pumpkin and Honey Bunny (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) are two would-be bank robbers who are planning a heist in a restaurant. Winner of the Golden Palm at Cannes and an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.
Length: 148 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 18th April 2011
Cat No: MIRLGD94538
by Anon on 20th April 2004
Quentin Tarantino's second film, Pulp Fiction takes the viewer on a cerebral, sensual and emotional rollercoaster ride and, as such, is not a film for the easily-confu... Read on
Quentin Tarantino's second film, Pulp Fiction takes the viewer on a cerebral, sensual and emotional rollercoaster ride and, as such, is not a film for the easily-confused or faint-of-heart...but then, you probably knew that already.
Tarantino's style of filming pays direct tribute to the genres which he clearly adores, but is never overly-reverential. Then again, things move at such a fast pace that it doesn't have time to be. The curious non-chronological sequencing has the film opening and closing with the same attempted heist in a diner; in between we inevitably see plenty of blood and gore, but are also privy to some high drama, intrigue, duplicity, black comedy, sexual tension, moral dilemma and some of the most innovative and quotable dialogue in modern-day cinema, which at times makes even the inane seem interesting ('Le Big Mac' indeed).
A stellar cast turn in some fine performances. Samuel L. Jackson (in the role that made his name) and John Travolt a (getting a long-awaited lease of cinematic life) are the epitomy of gun-toting cool. Bruce Willis is appropriately bullish - or 'Butch', if you prefer - as a double-crossing boxer, Uma Thurman smoulders in a wig as gangster's moll Mia Wallace, while Harvey Keitel and Christopher Walken both come close to stealing the show in cameo roles. Walken's Vietnam vet is a far cry from his role in The Deer Hunter, treading the line between serious and comical quite brilliantly.
Tarantino's first film Reservoir Dogs introduced him as a bright new light in '90s cinema. Pulp Fiction cemented this reputation, and remains not just the best of his films thus far, but is quite possibly the best film of that decade. Hide
by Mathew Dorrell on 20th May 2014
This is one that has been stewing for quite some time. I've never felt completely comfortable tackling what is my favourite film of all time, purely because I wouldn't... Read on
This is one that has been stewing for quite some time. I've never felt completely comfortable tackling what is my favourite film of all time, purely because I wouldn't know where to start (or where I'd end up), but I'm finally going to review Quentin Tarantino's acclaimed-by-absolutely-everyone 1994 masterpiece, Pulp Fiction. Now, where do I begin?
With a film that so masterfully weaves together a fractured narrative that completely blew away contemporary Hollywood, I suppose I'll start with what is chronologically the first scene: Vincent, fresh from Amsterdam, and Jules, discussing the intricacies and minute differences between Europe and America. The dialogue is so subversive for the characters that deliver each line that we don't even ask what's with the matching suits?, instead we focus entirely on whatever seemingly irrelevant topic is being discussed whether it be the laws regarding Marijuana-smoking in Amsterdam or the crazy/genius usage of Mayonnaise instead of Ketchup on fries the scene flows so fluently from its Jungle Boogie start, funky and fresh, that we bite.
I don't know what Jules foot massaging technique is saying, but it feels as though we as an audience are being let in on a secret Gangsters are just like us(!), they eat shitty food and talk about all of the little things, but we are quickly reminded that these two aren't just ordinary citizens. No more than five minutes later, Jules has murdered one person and the word what? has been used about two dozen times over. Tarantino, the man with the plan (and a 153 page script), knows exactly what he's doing, he's seeing just how much he can experiment with the audience. Let's put the audience in the car with these hired killers, let's make them enjoy the ride too But then, let's remind the audience that these guys are typical-Hollywood bad guys, only there's no loose-cannon cop chasing after them. This is the seedy, American nightmarish realm where Gangsters shoot guns and snort more cocaine than Charlie Sheen. It's groovy.
(The rest of this review is ordered as it is in the film)
After recovering the patented briefcase, which is simply a MacGuffin, we are treated to the first story of the film - Vincent Vega & Marsellus Wallace's Wife which features everything ranging from heroin to a camp, French New Wave inspired dance routine, and a very, very depressed Buddy Holly. Vincent Vega, in a career-invigorating performance from John Travolta, is the sort of sleazy guy you expect to be a gangster. Long, black, slick hair with a cigarette intermittently poking out of his mouth, he's got to take his boss's wife out for dinner (and apparently win her a trophy), but we've seen this sort of story before. Of course there's going to be sexual chemistry between these two, and Uma is nothing short of magnificent as Mrs. Mia Wallace, but what we don't expect is how well the scenes pan out. What goes from one dinner, wherein we are treated to more of Tarantino's spot-on, never too self-indulgent dialogue, suddenly turns into a dance off set to Chuck Berry's You Never Can Tell. This routine is inspired by Jean-Luc Goddard's movie, Band of Outsiders (Bande part), which also served as Tarantino's own production company name (A Band Apart), but my God is this scene just great. We get all of the classics in, the swiveling of the hips, the weird sort of scissors-in-front-of-the-eye thing, and it's at this very moment that I became completely submerged in everything on screen. The nostalgia pouring out of every frame that only ever gets better with age, the encapsulation of classic cinema being hailed in by a new auteur. Its awe-inspiring.
But why bother being cliché and taking the easy way out? Sure, we could have had a scene where Vincent and Mia capitalize on their obvious chemistry, but Tarantino has done something wonderful here; earlier on, Vincent bought some heroin (as you do?), but Mia has mistaken this for Cocaine thanks to a subtle dialogue exchange from Vincent's eccentric, robe-wearing dealer, Lance. I'm all out of balloons, is a baggie alright?. It's not, and soon enough Mia is ODing in her house and Vincent has to seek help from the only person he can rely on at this moment in time: Lance. Cue a chaotic scene where we sit on the edge of our seats, jaws super-glued to the floor, and after some pitch-black comedy plays out between Lance, who is not too happy to have a mob boss's wife dying on his living room floor, and Vincent, who might as well OD with Mia if he doesn't save her life, the issue is resolved. It's graphic, it's razor-sharp and poignant, and would make a decent candidate for worst date ever.
Now we're onto The Gold Watch, the muddling mid-section of the film that is, chronologically speaking, at the end of the film. Keep up if you can. Bruce Willis plays Butch, and something tells me Tarantino had Willis perfectly in mind for this character. Willis is remarkably understated in this film, which is great compared to his usual Yippee-Ki-Yay, Motherfucker! mentality. He's a man who is constantly told that he is past it, that he should give up the ghost and throw a fight for mob boss, Marsellus Wallace. But Butch isn't all brawl; cleverly turning the tables on Marsellus to benefit himself, Butch is all in the clear with Fabienne, his lovely partner. But, again, that would be too easy wouldn't it? Fabienne has forgotten an item of significant importance, the titular Gold Watch, and Butch needs it back. The Gold Watch represents time for Butch, of which he is told he is running out of repeatedly. He's taking a stand.
With thugs and mob bosses looking for him, Butch carefully navigates himself back into his apartment and claims the Gold Watch. He can rest easy now, his father/grandfathers valiant (and gross) efforts to preserve this watch haven't been in vain. Instead of just leaving however, Butch investigates a peculiarly placed sub-machine gun on his counter. Moments later, Vincent is gunned down (sob) and we as viewers know why; Earlier Vincent insulted Butch, and as Jules spouts so wonderfully in his famous speech I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance, so that's exactly what happens. Shame the Pop Tarts got burnt.
All is well in Butch's world, right? Tarantino doesnt seem to think so, even if we as viewers want to believe this. Fate and timing seems to play a large part in the recurring themes in this film, and sure enough Butch encounters the Big Boss himself, Marsellus Wallace, in a particularly well-crafted scene. Normally, the big confrontation will be saved for a special location of narrative importance, but this film doesn't fall into any generic tropes. Butch runs into (literally) Marsellus in broad daylight, at a crossing. What follows is a claustrophobic chase scene through non-descript streets and alleyways until the two make their way into the doomed pawn shop. Butch is about to complete his own personal mission to secure his watch, gun resting aggressively against Marsellus's head, when the owner of the store pipes up. Genius. Using a completely contexualised character like this is rarely done, and at first we think that this owner may just be the innocent civilian in all of this not in Tarantino's world. The pawn shop owner, Maynard, instead turns into the new antagonist of this hellish tale.
Bound and gagged, Marsellus and Butch sit quietly as Zed makes up his mind on which one of these unlucky bastards gets it first (not as in killed either). Bring out the Gimp. is a line that serves so many purposes. The terror on the faces of these conflicted characters, the pleasurable stare Zed emanates so menacingly, it's all getting too much. Marsellus is the unlucky one, and he is dragged into the back room where questionable screams progressively get louder as we can only imagine what kind of shenanigans are occurring off-screen. Tarantino loves making the viewer imagine things instead of showing them, like the ear-cutting scene from Reservoir Dogs, we stew in our own recesses. Butch eventually breaks free from the rope and breaks free. The end is in sight as he approaches the front door, but suddenly he faces a moral dilemma, which is something that occurs in ever segment of the film; does he leave Marsellus at the hands of these inbred crooks? No, Butch takes the high road. Armed with a samurai sword (some believe it to be The Brides from Kill Bill, it's not), Butch makes his way back downstairs, ignoring the hanging gimp that he knocked out minutes before. This is the part where we brace ourselves for Well, anything at this point.
Rape. Not quite the direction I thought Tarantino was going in, but it sure is emphatic. And incredibly disturbing. So Marsellus is being brutally sodomized by Zed, with Maynard standing by and egging him on. What a delightful duo these two are. I almost wish I was Butch at this moment, blade in hand exacting justice. It's wonderfully framed, with the wounds never really being caught cleanly, and then we get that wave of relief as Marsellus picks up a nearby shotgun and blasts Zeds private parts away. It's the ultimate payoff, and as Butch makes his way back to his beloved Fabienne to drive off into the distance, we get a few minutes to breathe and calm ourselves down. Not for long, mind.
We're now back at the moment where Jules and Vincent lay their own vengeance upon Brad, who for the life of him couldn't articulate past what?. This story is The Bonnie Situation, and is a perfectly hilarious anecdote to wrap things up a bit. After a polarizing experience involving either the worst gunman in cinematic history or divine intervention, things are getting a bit tense between Vincent and Jules. Vincent isn't much for religion, but Jules is. These characters undergo great change in a short space of time, and we barely even notice Marvin sitting in the back of the car. Jules wants to quit his job after being given what he believes to be a second chance, but Vincent thinks this is laughable. It's an old school debate, the God/No God one that still divides billions. Either way, something must have gotten Vincent's trigger finger itching because minutes later, poor Marvin's brains are scattered partially over the back windows and mostly in Jules impeccable fro. It's one of the most hilarious and bloody scenes of the film, but as Jules so aptly puts it; Cops tend to notice things like you're driving a car drenched in motherfucking blood.
(Note: Jules departure from the entourage no doubt resulted in the reason Butch survived and Vincent didn't, so perhaps reading deeper into the concept of religion and ideologies displayed by the characters allows for a better understanding of their fate. Maybe.)
Now were at Jimmy's house, and its none other than Tarantino in the role! This scene is so wonderfully structured, with Jimmy shooting straight through Jules conceited attempts at reconciling a cataclysmic scenario. Jimmy's wife, Bonnie, gets home in half an hour (Jimmy doesn't want to get fucking divorced, either). There's a car with brains and a body in the garage. Let's play clean-up then. What could easily have been the most mundane part of the film, the cleaning up after an accidental murder, instead becomes one that furthers our understanding of Vincent and Jules dynamic. They're ratty with each other and the quotable lines come thick and fast in this segment of the story. Harvey Keitel plays his small role wonderfully as The Wolf (while I'm at it, so does Christopher Walken as Captain Koons in The Gold Watch), and soon enough the boys are on their way to get breakfast.
This final scene plays alongside the opening, wherein Pumpkin & Honey Bunny prepare to rob a diner. We have almost forgotten at this point about these characters (with all of the shit we've been through as viewers, it's understandable), but Tarantino hasn't. Here they stand, guns at the ready, with only Jules and his new found life lust standing in their way. This final scene perfectly demonstrates just what makes Tarantino the two-time Oscar winning writer he is. He knows how to tell a story, build characters and doesn't he just have the best ear for musical choices?
Pulp Fiction is the epitome of cool, that's for sure. And while 99 of you have no doubt given up reading this incredibly long diatribe I've conjured up for you at nearly 4am, I must selfishly admit to you that I only wrote this for me. Pulp Fiction is everything that I love about cinema wrapped up in a pretty bow at 148 minutes long. It's a film I can watch on a winter evening or summer morning, and the characters are always exactly how I remembered them to be. And above all, it stands the test of time. Hide