Though it doesn’t hold the same glamour as it did to me as a teen.
American Film Institutes Ranking: #95/100
Awards: Nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning one for Best Original Screenplay
When I was around sixteen, a friend of mind had an exclusive showing of Pulp Fiction at the Byrd Theater in Richmond, VA, a beautifully renovated theater with chandelier and organ for pre-show performances. Pulp Fiction fit my adolescent attitude just fine — irreverent, violent, quirky, witty.
Rewatching, I could see why I liked it so much; the conversation and relationships between the characters are reminiscent of me hanging with high school friends, shooting the breeze while driving around. The ending message still resonated, especially coming from the bad-ass Jules.
Providing a synopsis of the plot for this one is hard — if you do it chronologically, it doesn’t make much impact, but if you do it the way the movie does, it doesn’t make any sense.
The movie is a collection of vignettes told out of order. Their stories are all connected, and the power of the movie is how the actions of characters are explained in a different order, but it doesn’t seem like flashbacks (even though that’s exactly what it is) so it avoids feeling hackneyed.
The climax is the story of Jules and the reasons for him walking away from the life of crime. While this is foreshadowed in earlier scenes, it isn’t resolved until coming full circle by ending the movie with the unfinished vignette that starts the movie which is actually in the middle chronologically.*
My biggest complaint: this movie takes a while to take off.
This movie wouldn’t be anything without the shuffled narrative, and it takes a few vignettes to intertwine before it is apparent what is happening. Once you have to start cataloging where each scenes fit chronologically is when it gets interesting.
The pastiche and dialogue buoy the movie until you get through that burden. Tarantino gives you quite a lot to reminisce about, whether it is the pulp fiction of the 20s, the star power of the 50s, or a soundtrack from the 70s. The back and forth banter runs the gamut from crass, profound, and mundane. It has a Seinfeld quality, particularly when it is between Vincent and Jules, being an interesting diction on several subjects of nothing.
This movie has a lot folded into it. You have violence, profanity, references, time distortion, a gimp, and S&M rednecks. Surprisingly, it never feels as hectic and disjointed as it should be. Instead you get a lot of different angles to enjoy the movie from.
I still liked it, but some of the glamour has faded. Whether that was because I knew what was coming, I do not know.
The ending is still good because at this point we can put everything in its place. It’s a reward for being able to keep up with everything because this movie has everything. It also saves the movie from depravity; Jules offers a wake up call to everyone that watch you just saw has consequences. Don’t ignore the sign!
Other People’s Takes:
- Unidagiggle: “Lastly, I would like to talk about what I believe to be the main theme of the film: redemption.”
- Septic Frog: “It’s stylish, funny, shocking and extremely entertaining.”