"Pulp Fiction" (1994)- Movie Review

WARNING: Significant Spoilers in review 
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino
Also written by Roger Avary
Starring Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, and  Tim Roth

                                           ‘Masterful Storytelling’

There is an unforgettable scene in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” where a man known as the ‘Wolf” calmly blurts out “just because you are a character doesn’t mean that you have character”. In a screenplay that is brilliantly crafted, this statement stands out as one of the best quotes in the film. And it isn’t alone, because there are an innumerable amount of other quotes that are just as thoughtful as it.

You rarely come across a movie where dialogue is a relentlessly driving force. Many scripts guide audiences through what is going on in a film, but the screenplay for “Pulp Fiction” accomplishes much more than just that. It is packed with compelling characters, hilarious situations,    and quirky dialogue.

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino is the mastermind behind the originality and comedy of this film. Creating a non-linear story for any movie seems like an absurd and even tricky idea, yet Tarantino miraculously manages to make “Pulp Fiction” both entertaining and witty. Arranged in a strange fashion, the film’s intertwining stories are made up of four distinct tales involving two gangster hit men, a gangster’s wife, a boxer, and a pair of diner robbers. Each tale is told in an unusual order, which consists of characters appearing in odd situations.

It isn’t easy to blend different stories into one film, however, as a filmmaker Tarantino reaches tremendous feats with “Pulp Fiction”. Though some of the tales are more interesting than others, the balance between humor and violence is vivid, sharper than what one would expect from such a film. Sometimes it is the subtle moments whether noticed or not, that exemplify a great movie. This film is just like that; some particular scenes that, upon a second viewing fascinated me were in the Bonnie Situation tale. At the start of the story, Vincent (John Travolta) and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) unexpectedly survive when a man shoots bullets at them. Following this miraculous occurrence, another sudden and abrupt event occurs. Vincent shoots Marvin in the car. This is similar to the previous scene, because it also has an unpredictable and surprising element. Putting together these scenes requires the sort of execution from a genius, which Tarantino certainly proves he is.

Though this movie runs in a strange order, which involves a stoppage of a certain event until it is continued later, it somehow works. Sure, this can cause confusion for audiences but you can’t help but admire the uniqueness and peculiarity of such film-making. Tarantino’s storytelling is immensely original, demonstrating his extraordinary gift in the area of writing.

The choice of music could not have been more effective. From the magnificent use of a Chuck Berry song in the iconic dancing scene to the opening credits’ adrenaline pumping music, the soundtrack heavily contributes to the movie’s mood and theme. Despite the fact that it isn’t composed, the assortment of songs that Tarantino has chosen are diverse and carefully used for each scene.

Samuel L. Jackson delivers one of the most memorable performances of his career. As a ruthless mobster who transforms by the end of the film through an act of forgiveness, Jackson has electric screen presence and injects the perfect sort of charisma into his acting. It is notable to mention his spot-on delivery of vital dialogue in the film, especially in his diner monologue. When “Pulp Fiction” was released, the performance was a turning point in Jackson’s career; one that changed his status as an actor.

John Travolta is sensational in an iconic role that distinguished him as a star during the 1990’s. What makes his performance so unique is the fact that it is so different from what he usually does. By appearing in musicals such as “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease” in the 1970’s , Travolta established himself as an actor for only genre-related movies. However, “Pulp Fiction” was the movie that showed diversity in his roles.

The supporting cast is phenomenal with some great actors appearing for a short period of time, yet still leaving an impact on the film. Bruce Willis is stunning in the role of a boxer who will accomplish anything to find his gold watch, while Uma Thurman excels as a mobster’s hipster wife. Christopher Walken and Harvey Keitel appear in hilarious cameos, while Quentin Tarantino himself shows up for a while.

There are so many great things to say about “Pulp Fiction” that the list is never ending. My feelings towards the movie were fine when I viewed it for the first time, but upon a second viewing I recognized it as a masterpiece. Repeated viewings can change your opinion of some films.

There’s a scene in the movie where Jules (played by Samuel L. Jackson) wants to get into character. What he doesn’t realize is there is no need to. His character is already a fascinating asset of Tarantino’s script.

5/5 stars

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