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Pulp Fiction By: Anonymous The puzzle pieces are carefully fitted together as director Quentin Tarantino intermingles three different story lines in his hit movie Pulp Fiction. The movie begins in a quiet little diner as two petty robbers discuss their next mission. The mission in question involves two lovebirds (Amanda Plummer and Tim Roth) holding up unsuspecting restaurants, instead of their usual liquor stores. As their plan falls into action, time alters and we find ourselves riding down the street with Vincent and Jules John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson), two hit men on their way to work.
As the men travel to work they discuss such worldly things as gourmet food, like the 'Royale with cheese', and the sexual innuendoes involved when one gives a foot massage. These two intellects do the dirty work for the infamous Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). Due to Wallace''s lifestyle, the movie branches off into three separate stories. The first tale begins when Wallace has some overnight business he must attend to. While gone, he leaves Vincent in charge of entertaining his beautiful wife Mia (Uma Thurman). After a surprisingly pleasant evening of dinner and dancing, Vincent must revive Mia after her abusive episode with heroin. The second adventure involves Wallace and a washed-up boxer, Butch, portrayed by Bruce Willis
Wallace gives Butch a substantial amount of money to throw a fight. After receiving the cash Butch decides to double-cross a double-crosser. The final episode revolves around Vincent''s accidental murder of a young black in the back seat of Jules'' car. This hilarious scene develops when Jules is forced to ask the 'Wolf' (Harvey Keitel) to act as a clean-up man. As the 2 1/2 -hour movie unfolds, one must keep very alert and place the pieces together just right to complete the final picture. Before Tarantino begins his clip, he attempts to focus the audience by quoting two dictionary definitions of pulp. 'The first one is literal: the second is the figurative usage, derived from magazines of the past that were published on cheap pulp paper and specialized in lurid fiction of several genres' (Kauffmann 26).
With the making of his Cannes Film Festival winner, Tarantino changes all the rules restricting genre. 'Tarantino has lifted up the dark rock of crime cliche and found a brilliantly colorful world thriving underneath. Pulp Fiction drags film noir kicking and screaming into the daylight' (Johnson 58). Considering the great success of Tarantino''s movie, most critics do not focus first on the basis of the movie, but rather on the fact that Tarantino was a high-school drop out who worked as a video clerk for six years. Although they chalk-up his movie watching as experience; they do not fail to see its effects on his storytelling abilities. Even without a high school diploma Tarantino is most praised for his verbal cues.
'His passion is for storytelling that allows the most outrageous characters to reveal their feelings in long takes and torrents of words, poetic and profane' (Travers 79). Once the critics discovered the plot of the movie, they investigated the use of violence as a central theme. Each of the three episodes revolves around danger and death. According to Richard Corliss, 'Tarantino''s films are energized not by so much violence as by its threat' ('Blast to Heart' 76). The more danger involved, the more a character is willing to risk. For instance, Vincent was willing to stab a needle full of adrenaline into the heart of Mia not only to save her life but also his butt. As the movie progresses, other factors begin to stand out.
For instance, many comments were made about the use of male dominance within the film. Each male actor plays some sort of tough guy. They have the walk and the talk, with the nerve to back up either. Even their idle chatter contains pure masculinity. But this is a very male form of gossip -- verbal machismo. With their edgy patter, the guys test themselves, their friends, their victims; every conversation is a pop quiz with life on the line. And when they do shut up, it''s often to blow someone away, or do drugs, or sink into edgy pensiveness. In Tarantino''s film there are no comfortable silences (Travers 78).
Although Mia is considered a worthy individual it is only because of whom she married. Otherwise, she would just be another female. In Tarantino''s male world, he does not fail to recognize Mia''s shortcomings. Nobody can forget that she failed as an actress or that she could not handle her drugs. Besides the recognition of certain commonalties, a few critics noticed different events. First, Ansen''s reaction to the sadistic relationship of two hicks is one of total disgust.
'It''s the only time Tarantino indulges in unadulterated villainy, and it''s a failure of imagination, a movie kid''s borrowed notion of evil' ('Redemption' 71). Even without this particular scene the movie would have been credited as a success. The other common criticism was reality versus fantasy. Many reviewers did not see the film''s connection to everyday life. The movie was just a fiction film and nothing more (Johnson 58).
With films like this, audiences often have a difficult time relating. My first viewing of the movie left me unimpressed. However, after watching it a second time, many things became much clearer. I chose to write about Pulp Fiction because I could not really understand all the attention it was receiving. I never could really understand what was going on as the film was progressing.
I have now had a slight change of heart. After reading the reviews I was rather shocked to see that the critics and I agreed on some of the main themes. Such as the way that the critics stated that people could not relate to this movie, this is true in my standing because I am not a heroin addict. But, I do feel there is more to this movie than just that fact that the characters were addicts. However, I also found other main ideas throughout the movie.
First, I felt that many ideas revolved around a 'black/white' theme. It seemed that no matter who was in control, they were always in a confrontation with someone of another race. For instance: Wallace and Vincent''s relationship, Jules against 'Pumpkin', or Butch versus Wallace. Although one race never seemed more dominant, the concept of black against white was very prominent. Even though each reviewer discussed the scene where Vincent saves Mia''s life, they failed to see how the fixation was a destruction of character. Tarantino uses drugs to develop each of his characters personalities. Mia is known for her abuse of deadly substances and the over use of these substances.
Vincent''s character can only be relaxed and have a good time when he is high on heroin. Wallace is making deals and selling drugs, while Jules is out preaching quotes from the Bible and killing youth over drug related events. Each character''s actions are affected by the central idea of drugs. Although Wallace is a bad guy, I am amazed at the loyalty he receives from everyone. Even though his wife is suspected of semi-adultery, she is totally faithful to Wallace on her night out on the town with Vincent. Vincent also feels a sense of responsibility for Mia because of his relationship with Wallace.
Even Wallace''s enemy, Butch, goes out of his way to save Wallace from being 'man-handled'. Since Wallace''s faith is only in those he has control over, loyalty appears to have a price. Because Tarantino''s film Pulp Fiction branches off into several separate stories, one must concentrate hard to get the full affect of his work. With great talent he blends three main scenarios and several sub-plots into one full-length movie. Once completed he tosses in chaos, and ready to serve is an award winning film.
Bibliography Ansen, David. "The Redemption of Pulp." Newsweek 124. (October 10, 1994): 71. Ansen, David and Charles Fleming. "A Tough Guy Takes Cannes." Newsweek 123. (June 6, 1994): 79. Corliss, Richard.
"A Blast to the Heart." Time 143. (June 6, 1994): 73. Johnson, Brian D. "Making Crime Play." Maclean's 107. (October 24, 1994): 57-8. Kauffmann, Stanley. "Shooting Up." The New Republic 211.
(November 14, 1994): 26-7. Travers, Peter. "Movies Tarantino's Twist." Rolling Stone. (October 6, 1994): 79-81. 1994): 26-7. Travers, Peter.
"Movies Tarantino's Twist." Rolling Stone. (October 6, 1994):.
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