Pulp Fiction (1994) is the second film directed by legendary director Quentin Tarantino, with this one taking more risks in terms of story-telling. This film has an all-star cast, including Uma Thurman, John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, in a film that tells three different stories that end up connecting together.
Quentin Tarantino proves once again in this film that he knows how to showcase violence and action in the film. The gun sequences are absolutely well done, they are stylised but also well realised in the world. they do not feel fake at all, and I appreciate that from Tarantino. The cinematography here, like in Reservoir Dogs, is also spot on. I almost think that the cinematography improves in this film, as Tarantino becomes more confident in his craft.
Of course, this is an all-star cast and they give some incredible performances. This is the best I have ever seen John Travolta be, and he has some of the best lines to give in the entire film. Samuel L. Jackson is his typical bad-ass self and he is obviously great at it. However, the star of the show here is Uma Thurman. She is eye-catching right from the start and oozes personality here, and you cannot take your eyes off of her whenever she appears on screen.
What I like more about this film than Reservoir Dogs are the characters and their personalities. Instead of feeling like clichéd characters with one direction, like in Reservoir Dogs, these characters feel more real and have more personality to them. They are the sort of characters that you don’t know if you’re meant to love or hate them, because they’re so flawed yet also so damaged as people. Having characters like these only help create compelling stories with them.
I am really starting to see with these two films so far what makes Tarantino appealing as a film director, and that is a distinct film style. There are certain aspects which are his, from the clear references to the 50s and 60s, to the mass amount of gun violence and gritty story-telling. He also has a great ear for music, and the dance sequence at the diner is captivating to watch.
I do still have some small issues with this film though, and a big portion of that has to do with the length of the film. It is 2 hours and 30 minutes long, and I feel like this film did not need to be this long to tell the story that it did. It seems that certain scenes or moments could have been cut out, and we would have gotten to that fantastic closing scene quicker and more effectively. To me, Tarantino is still being a little bit too indulgent and doesn’t know when he needs to separate his material and cut it to make a more cohesive story.
Out of the three stories that are connected together to make this full narrative, the boxer storyline is by far the weakest. Yes, Bruce Willis does a fantastic job in the role and there are great moments in those scenes, however I could not get connected to it unlike the story between Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace. In my personal opinion, the boxer storyline could have taken a seat back, or even just cut it a little bit to make the narrative flow better.
Pulp Fiction shows that Tarantino is already majorly improving on his stories and character development, yet staying true to himself and his style. I would have liked him to be less indulgent here and realise that he did not need to make such a long film with certain storylines that I simply did not connect with as much, but the technique is used effectively and the start and end of the film is so effective that I ended up loving the final product.
Have you seen Pulp Fiction and is it your favourite film in the Tarantino filmography? Or, did this one not work for you as much as the other films he has made? Let me know down below, and look out for my review of Jackie Brown on Thursday as part of Taranthon.