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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Poster for the 1994 Quentin Tarantino film, Pulp Fiction, with Uma Thurman as Mia at the center.
I almost bought Pulp Fiction this week. I have one space left on my shelf, and I'm trying to keep it reserved for 50/50, but it's a tough thing to do. I lucked out though, I found Pulp Fiction on a premium channel. I made sure I wouldn't miss my first real chance to see it, and it was great.

Pulp Fiction follows the stories of several different people over about 2-3 days, and it's about all the unfortunate situations these people find themselves in. Characters are played by an ensemble cast featuring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Quentin Tarantino, and Peter Greene. And everyone here is just fighting to survive in a world full of underworld type activities: fixed fights, drugs, sadism, and lots of killing. Pulp Fiction is told in a, according to my father, "disjointed" fashion. I think it works, he doesn't, but that's just a difference of opinion. The dialogue and cinematography are really where this movie shine.

One of my favorite exchanges in the movie is an early one. Travolta and Jackson are making small talk about drugs and television, and it's small stuff I found pretty interesting by itself. Then the dialogue just smoothly transitions into the story and other characters. I'm just as interested then as I was a few minutes ago, maybe more, and it's one of those things that carries me through the 150 minutes of the film. The dialogue in this film never disappoints, but it's only being captured because the camera is never in the wrong place.

I remember reading once that one team of writers/directors will storyboard their entire film first, even if it's live-action. I can definitely see Tarantino doing this. Every shot was amazing, every camera technique well used, and it makes the film that much better. This leads to wonderfully shot death scenes, and that's another issue for me. I'm guessing Pulp Fiction pushed the R-Rating at the time of its release, and I know it pushed my limits as far as tension. I just want to say that you should know what you're getting yourself into and keep children as far away as possible. This movie would scare a kid the same way Freddy Kruger or Jack Nicholson would, and I mean Nicholson in a horror movie or just walking around town because he's a scary guy.

Beyond all that Pulp Fiction seems to be the ultimate blend of a mainstream and cult film, and I can't wait to see it again.