MOTW: "Pulp Fiction" Review

Photo Credit: Miramax Films

MOTW: "Pulp Fiction" Review

Rating: R (drug use, graphic violence, strong language, and sexuality)
Length: 154 minutes
Release date: Oct. 14, 1994
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Genre: Thriller/Crime/Drama

Quentin Tarantino is one of Hollywood's most legendary living directors. Even though many of his movies have been widely successful, including recent masterpieces such as "Django Unchained" the "Kill Bill" series, Tarantino made his name with "Pulp Fiction." "Pulp Fiction" was released in 1994, an awkward era for many blockbusters that were taking massive risks by catering to mature audiences instead of toning down their mature themes. Even though "Pulp Fiction" was not one of the top ten highest-grossing movies of 1994, the film still brought in more than $213 million worldwide and swiftly became a cult classic.

Like many Quentin Tarantino movies, "Pulp Fiction" enthralled audiences with an edgy and engrossing storyline, realistic characters with both moving and terrible backgrounds, and memorable dialogue that is still regularly referenced in modern pop culture. The film is strengthened by a powerful soundtrack made up of multiple international hits from genres such as surf rock, pop, soul, and rock and roll. In fact, the soundtrack brought the dying genre of surf rock back into the spotlight. Even when pitted against films such as "Reservoir Dogs" and "Inglourious Basterds," "Pulp Fiction" is considered by many to be Tarantino's greatest achievement.

Always a genius when it comes to casting, Tarantino did not disappoint audiences when he chose the actors who would portray his remarkably unique characters. Quentin Tarantino actually created the iconic hitman Jules Winnfield with Samuel L. Jackson in mind. However, Jackson nearly lost the role that was created for him when he auditioned under the false assumption that the audition was supposed to be a simple reading. Even though the conflicted hitman is certainly one of the most famous characters in the "Pulp Fiction" universe, Vincent Vega is the character who truly steals the show. Vega was portrayed by John Travolta, who is considered the shining star of the film by many "Pulp Fiction" fans. In fact, "Pulp Fiction" brought Travolta back into the spotlight and earned him an Academy Award nomination, a rare feat for any actor who might otherwise be considered past his prime.

Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield are both seasoned killers who are still clinging to the last vestiges of their humanity. However, the two strong characters have view their careers in very different ways. Vega feels that his life as a hitman is just a regular job like any other and compartmentalizes his vicious missions as a way of coping with the things he's done. Winnfield, on the other hand, sees being a hitman as a lifestyle and undergoes a dramatic redemption. Even though Jules Winnfield is the favorite of many "Pulp Fiction" fans, Vincent Vega is the only character who has a role in each of the film's complicated miniature stories.

Uma Thurman also received an Academy Award nomination for her compelling performance as failed actress Mia Wallace. Mia is the wife of Marsellus Wallace, the wealthy mob boss who hired Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield to perform his dirty work. Thurman's character was featured on the vast majority of the promotional material. The iconic image Uma Thurman is known for features Mia Wallace stretched out in a sultry pose on a bed with a smoking cigarette in her hand. In spite of the attention she received for her role as Mia Wallace, Thurman refused to take on any major roles in blockbuster films for several years after the release of "Pulp Fiction." In fact, she initially turned down Quentin Tarantino when he asked her to play Wallace, but she relented when he read the entire script to her in a last-ditch effort to change her mind.

"Pulp Fiction" has a somewhat unconventional plot structure. Instead of following a linear storyline, the film jumps from scene to scene and tells an out-of-order story that is slowly brought together for the breathtaking climax. Because the film can be hard to follow on the first watch, audiences who were enthralled when the movie was over frequently returned to the theater to see it again for the full effect. Modern viewers sometimes choose to watch the film with subtitles to make it easier to follow the nonchronological plot. Even though each story is remarkable in its own right, the most iconic story revolves around Winnfield and Vega searching for an important briefcase stolen from their boss. Thanks to the intricate web of stories, a powerful score, and a seasoned all-star cast, "Pulp Fiction" will continue to be recognized worldwide as a great film for many years to come.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5