Flickering Myth’s writing team count down to the UK release of Django Unchained by selecting their favourite Quentin Tarantino movies; next up is Martin Deer with 1994’s Pulp Fiction…
pulp /’palp / n. 1. A soft, moist, shapeless mass of matter
2. A magazine or book containing lurid subject matter
and being characteristically printed on rough,
The reasons I love Pulp Fiction could be explained in depth, with a detailed critical analysis of every aspect of its structure, but all I really want to say is that this is a damn good movie. I can’t recall the first time I saw this film but I know that I have loved it since I was a teenager – I was 10 when it came out – and that I have been a fan of Tarantino ever since.
One of the most appealing aspects of Pulp Fiction is the dialogue – how the characters spend a large portion of the movie talking about, well, nothing. There are a number of conversations that simply serve to tell us more about the characters’ thoughts and feelings on certain matters rather than to advance the plot, which makes every single character a well-rounded, real person, and completely engrossing as a result. The opening scene alone has become something of a legend – “a Royale with cheese”. Pulp Fiction revitalised the career of John Travolta, and with good reason. He is brilliant in this and really has great opportunity to shine. Where he really gets his moments are in the segment ‘Vincent Vega & Marsellus Wallace’s Wife’, and most notably in one of my favourite scenes of the film when Vincent discovers Mia Wallace overdosing and rushes her to his dealer Lance’s house.
The scene is perfectly poised, the tension of a very serious life-threatening situation is broken with some intense comedic back and forth between Lance and Vincent – “‘Get the shot’, ‘I am if you let me’, ‘I ain’t fucking stopping you’, ‘well stop talking to me and start talking to her’, ‘GET THE SHOT!’. Sharing in the moment with him is Uma Thurman as Mia, who I just absolutely love in this film. She oozes this incredible confidence and her character is endlessly charismatic and charming. She doesn’t appear until 20 minutes or so in, but from the opening moments of the film Tarantino builds this huge aura around the character as this women of great power and standing. When we first meet Mia don’t meet her, we meet her lips as she speaks to Vincent over the intercom. Tarantino builds our suspense at meeting this woman. Uma does not disappoint.
My favourite part of the film comes in ‘The Bonnie Situation’, the final chapter of the film, when we finally get to see what happened following the “divine intervention” that took place back at the apartment. Going back to what I said previously about the dialogue, the conversations between Vincent and Jules are completely engrossing and the banter back and forth, especially in Jimmie’s garage (“I’m Superfly T.N.T.”) – great, quotable lines – excel and delight. The climax in the diner is endlessly watchable, and Samuel L Jackson is superb in those scenes, especially when he is delivering his monologue.
I think this is Tarantino’s best cast. The pairs and trios all work: Travolta & Jackson; Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames & Travolta; Travolta & Thurman; Travolta, Jackson & Tarantino – everybody bounces off of each other so well and it’s so enjoyable to watch.
Interesting characters spouting witty dialogue and a great use of non-linear storytelling with vivid engrossing stories makes Pulp Fiction not only my favourite Tarantino film, but also one of my all time favourites. Don’t agree? Then I will strike down against thee with great vengeance and furious anger!
What’s your favourite Tarantino movie? Let us know in the comments below…