Hitting the world like a punch in the jaw, Pulp Fiction is a phenomenon of a movie that plays with itself as a genre film while simultaneously telling an excellent and fresh tale that never seems to get old with the passage of time or repetition. Featuring an all-star cast that includes John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken, and Bruce Willis, Pulp Fiction weaves together three separate tales taking place in ’90s Los Angeles, featuring killer dialogue, graphic violence, and a lot of humor – all to the sounds of an eclectic and brilliant soundtrack.
First off, it’s important to point out what kind of film this is. It’s first and foremost a genre piece, an exploitation film that is an homage to the kinds of films it has been inspired by. It’s also a very successful black comedy, featuring a hilarious cast of characters, scenes, and dialogue that is as quotable as anything that’s ever been put on film. Characters such as Jules (Jackson) and Vincent (Travolta) have great chemistry and provide us with excellent conversations to witness. Essentially, every character in this film is excellent in one degree or the other, be it Mrs. Mia Wallace (Thurman), Marsellus Wallace (Rhames), Butch (Willis), or Winston “The Wolf” Wolfe (Keitel). Roth and Plummer are notable as a couple who rob places, with an interesting chemistry and equally interesting dialogue and scenes. However, my favorite character has to be (of all the people) Jimmie, played by Quentin Tarantino himself. As is in Reservoir Dogs, my favorite character ends up being played by Tarantino; something about the way he looks, acts, and is makes it almost impossible for me to not make him my favorite character/person in whatever thing he may be in. In any case, Jimmie has my favorite monologue in the movie and some of my favorite lines as well; the scene that features him is also probably my favorite.
When it comes to music, Tarantino knows his stuff. He does this sort of thing instinctively, carefully, with smart input and direction. The soundtrack for Pulp Fiction is classic, featuring assorted genres of music that also fit perfectly well in whatever scene they are featured it. While I would say the best use of music in this film is the opening and closing credits, the music is excellent all of the time and can sometimes really make a scene what it is, so it’s almost unfair for me to single out a scene or two as being the best; all I have is my opinion, and not even that can be selective.
I don’t know what it is, but Tarantino is an incredible writer with an incredible knack for dialogue, be it unimportant or part of the actual over-arching story. He infuses each of his characters with personality, making them memorable for a variety of reasons. Essentially, any character that has notable screen time could be extremely well liked and memorable because they actually are characters, they are “people” who exist in this world (which is essentially a movie-like world, a theory which can be backed by Tarantino’s love for movies in his movies). Tarantino’s talent also goes for the stories he writes, but that goes without saying.
Pulp Fiction is a true American masterpiece, the kind of thing that lives up to its name and manages to stay with you and have an impact on your life in some degree. Quentin Tarantino made something unique, yet old fashioned, and all brand new all at once. Movies like this don’t perpetually exist. Movies as well written, as well acted, as well played as this one don’t get made. As Jules might say, God came down and graced Tarantino with the will and mind to write this story down and make this film so that the world may see it and embrace it for what is: a perfect piece of pulp fiction.