Pulp Fiction (1994)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Starring: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth
In 1994 Quentin Tarantino followed his film Resevoir Dogs with the smash hit Pulp Fiction. This time he put together a film that earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. These included acting nominations for John Travolta, Uma Thurman, and Samuel L. Jackson. The film also won for Best Screenplay, an award shared between Tarantino and Roger Avary.
The formula for his success included some familiar faces in Tarantino’s future films. The names include Uma Thurman (Kill Bill), Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown), Tim Roth and Harvey Keitel (Resevoir Dogs). He also brought in a few other big names like Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames. Together this cast brought his amazing stories to life in one of the most interesting films of the last fifty years.
The lives of two gangsters (Travolta and Jackson) are interwoven with a boxer (Willis), a gangsters wife (Thurman), and two small-time crooks (Roth and Amanda Plummer). As the events bring these people together the collisions bring out gun fights, robberies, dancing and drug use. At the center of their universe is a briefcase owned by gangster Marsellus Wallace (Rhames).
This amazing set of stories is put together brilliantly. Tarantino and Avary worked together to write an incredible script with memorable dialogue that really reveals the feelings of the different characters. Combined with the non-linear style of film making, this movie is intense and emotional from start to finish. It also manages to find moments of comedy through the film which work to offset some of the brutality of the movie.
“Normally, both your asses would be dead as f****** fried chicken, but you happen to pull this shit while I’m in a transitional period so I don’t wanna kill you, I wanna help you. But I can’t give you this case, it don’t belong to me. Besides, I’ve already been through too much shit this morning over this case to hand it over to your dumb ass. “ – Jules (Samuel L. Jackson)
The acting in the film is wonderful to watch. Travolta revived his career with his powerful performance as Vincent the drug-addicted gangster. Samuel L. Jackson must have been the inspiration for his role since it feels natural and perfect for him. Uma Thurman is also great in her role as the wife of the feared gangster. The rest of the cast is all wonderful as well. From Bruce Willis to Tim Roth, the actors are all part of this gritty and interesting story.
One of my favorite aspects of this movie is the soundtrack. Throughout the movie the music plays like another character, setting the tone of the film and working to elevate the emotion of the scenes. This time it’s done with “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” (covered by Urge Overkill), Misirlou (Dick Dale), and a number of other classic songs.
I love this movie and I’m not sure I can bring any criticism to the table. Besides being one of my favorite films, this movie just works. I love the acting, the music, the set design, and everything else it took to make Pulp Fiction.
This may not be a movie for everyone. If you enjoyed any of Quentin Tarantino’s other films this should be right up your alley. For anyone else, be prepared for a gritty and violent film that is as honest as a movie can be. For everything it does, this movie is deserving of 5 out of 5 stars.