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Pulp Fiction (1994)

DVD Cover (Miramax)
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8.9
 / 10
30 votes
Genres:
Crime, Ensemble Film, Gangster Film
Director:
Quentin Tarantino Quentin Tarantino
Starring:
John Travolta John Travolta
Samuel L. Jackson Samuel L. Jackson
Tim Roth Tim Roth
Amanda Plummer Amanda Plummer
Eric Stoltz Eric Stoltz
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Review by Chad
Added: May 30, 2008
I can't speak for the other reviewers on this site, but personally, I find that there are certain titles that I just don't want to review. I have no problems reviewing films that run the gamut from "crap" to "great", but there are a handful of films that go beyond those classifications and find themselves in "classic" territory. For the most part, I don't even have a problem tackling most of those; however, when a film goes beyond even that status and winds up amongst "my personal favorite movies", I find that it's incredibly difficult to review said film without sounding like a complete and utter fanboy. Pulp Fiction is one of those films, and this is the sole reason that it's taken so long for Quentin Tarantino's undisputed crowning achievement to find a place on this site.

For the three of you reading this who haven't seen the film, I'd first like to say "for shame", and after getting that out of the way, I suppose that a synopsis is in order. Pulp Fiction presents us with three separate stories that overlap with one another and feature most of the same characters, with a gangster kingpin by the name of Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) being the common thread that connects everything together. In one story, we find a pair of Wallace's henchmen - Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) - setting out to retrieve a mysterious briefcase from some unsavory characters, while another story revolves around Vega's night out on the town with Wallace's wife Mia (Uma Thurman). The third story introduces us to Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), a boxer who double-crosses Marsellus by defeating another boxer that he was supposed to take a dive for, a feat which costs Wallace thousands of dollars in betting money. Each of these stories are separate from one another for the most part, but again, the characters that we meet in one story will almost certainly show up in the next in some way or form.

Now, anyone who has seen a Tarantino flick (I would imagine that this is almost all of you) will know what the man brings to the table in terms of his style: witty dialogue, plenty of cameo appearances, and plot twists that are reminiscent of the glory days of exploitation sleaze. Pulp Fiction is no different, and for my money, this is the film that was the highlight of the man's career - no small feat when you consider the other films that he has made over the years.

By far, the biggest strength of the film is the dialogue. True, the same can be said for most of Tarantino's releases, but this statement is particularly true with this film as the script is just pure genius. The chemistry that Travolta and Jackson have with one another only amplifies an already incredible script, and when you hear them chat with one another about things as trivial as French hamburgers and foot massages, you just find yourself with a huge smile on your face and begging for more. When you consider that the film runs for two and a half hours and that most of this time is spent focusing on dialogue sequences involving the various characters, the fact that the audience is left wanting more when the credits roll is a testament to how well this film was written.

This is not to say that the characters sit around a table and chat for the entire running time; no, there's plenty of action to be found, though the real highlights of the film are the moments that may puzzle readers who haven't actually seen the film. For instance, take the scene in which Travolta and Thurman enter a dancing contest at a restaurant that features dead celebrity impersonators as the waitstaff (a "wax museum with a pulse") - this is a scene that is downright classic, and it's also a scene that mere words can not begin to adequately describe. How about the scene in which Bruce Willis picks up a chainsaw to use on a pair of city-dwelling hillbillies, only to find something even better afterwards and then... well, let's just say that this particular pair of hillbillies had a very bad day when all was said and done. These are just two scenes of the movie, and trust me when I say that I could easily list another twenty moments of the film that are just as good.

This is also one of the most star-studded films in Tarantino's filmography, but unlike certain other films in which we get plenty of "names" that aren't used properly, each and every last one of these characters are memorable to say the very least. Besides the huge names listed above in the plot synopsis, we've also got - get ready, this is a long list - names such as Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros, Rosanna Arquette, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, Harvey Keitel, and of course, Quentin Tarantino himself. Some of these folks are only here for a quick cameo appearance, some have fairly minor roles, and some are pretty vital to the script; however, each of them brings something unique to the table, and each of them makes the film that much better by being in it.

I could go on and on about this film: the soundtrack is outstanding, the cinematography is brilliant, Tarantino's directorial trademarks are all present, none of the performances sink below "perfect", the writing is some of the best that I have ever seen in a film, and the amount of quotable lines and sequences is just insane. Yes, I could keep right on writing about this film, but do I really need to? 10/10, one of the easiest perfect scores that I have ever given.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 05/30/2008, 10:13 AM
Agreed. There are some films that really don't need reviews this late in the game. Seriously -- who the fuck wants to review "Lawrence of Arabia" for an internet review site? Can you really find something that hasn't already been said. "Pulp Fiction" is the same way. Of course it's a 10/10. What else would it be? It's pretty much just giving a plot summation to people who already know the words by heart. It's pretty much giving your opinion on how great the film is when most people will criticize you for not praising it enough. "Pulp Fiction". Classic. Love it.

"Counting flowers on the wall...that don't bother me at all..."
385 #2: 385 - added 05/31/2008, 05:26 AM
I still think you should have waited until 2000 :-P Either way, 10/10 duh. Since watching this with a buddy of mine, we're completely unable to eat a hamburger without quoting Jackson.
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added 04/28/2009, 08:59 PM
Yeah pretty much what they said. 10/10
Greg Follender #4: Greg Follender - added 04/29/2009, 02:18 AM
I really hate to break the perfect string of rave reviews this flick has garnered on this site... so i'll simply state that I'm not as in love with this film as most of you folks seem to be;)

I think it may have something to do with my age... and the fact that I can name almost every other film that contains the original scenes that Tarantino borrowed from to string this film together. Sure, I can appreciate a reverential pastiche as much as the next guy, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to call a director brilliant for cobbling a film together from cool scenes he saw in other 60 and 70's exploitation movies.

Fun and dumb. Great quotable lines... but all in all, just a better than average romp with clever casting.
A great popcorn flick... just not my cup of tea.

8/10

In my humble opinion, Reservoir Dogs is a better, more entertaining film... (and Tarantino owes more than a little of that great material to other directors in that flick as well)
Sigh... maybe I've just become too cynical...

Tristan #5: Tristan - added 04/29/2009, 02:19 AM
"What ain't no country I've ever heard of. They speak English in What?"

Jackson's finest movie, hands down. You really can't say anything about this movie that hasn't been said 100x before. 10/10
Greg Follender #6: Greg Follender - added 04/29/2009, 09:58 AM
"Say "what" again, I dare you... I double dare you, motherfucker..."

Like I said... a simply above average film elevated to pop celebrity through great dialogue and casting.

I concur that this is Jackson's finest vehicle though... he's been riding this singular success for most of his career;)
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