PULP FICTION
DIRECTOR: QUENTIN TARANTINO
USA 1994
CINEMATOGRAPHY: ANDREJ SEKULA
MUSIC: KARYN RATCHMAN, 70'S MUSIC
CAST: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria Medeiros, Christopher Walker
ONE WORD: Nicely written and fun, but over rated film.


This is not a bad film. The conceptualization that went into it, makes for an interesting film. A bunch of drugged out gone wrong generation that grew up in violent Hollywood material, lives their fantasies and does not separate it from the reality. But, unlike the other film which was a blatant social attack, this one takes on a more personal attitude, that the characters themselves are the ones really mixed up, be it through the drugs or not.

This creates a film that is, pardon the pun from the sixties, "on acid", with the exception that it is deadly in the hands of a few people who have a job to do.

The story is loose, and not clear, a mild comment on a generation that really had as much direction, and they do guilt nowadays for having gotten stoned. It was all about the drugs and the I, in it, and not much else. This is the ugly side of the sixties generation of love and peace. The side that was not considered bad, if you were on the establishment side.

But there are things that make this film wake up, and come off weird, and entertaining. The characterizations are all eccentric and difficult to follow, but entertaining to watch. They do not do things predictably, as most films about cops, robbers, good guy and bad guys stories. They are not predicable at all. Instead of reacting, and getting shot, the characters enter into a catharsis, and begin exploring their own thinking, however unusual, highlighted by Samuel L. Jackson's monologue towards the end, a sort of Zen meets acid routine, that turns benevolent, though it has been deadly since the beginning of the story.

It is hard to fight the glow this film generated with its period music, clever design, and well thought out costumes. Vincent finally finds a girl he can get along with, even if she is attached to a boss he is out to undo, thus adding to the danger of the situation, he is often involved in. But so what, another streak of coke, and who cares. This is the film's attitude throughout, and something that many of us from that generation might have liked to see, but could never accept, or follow up on. We were the children of a religiously inclined people, and when this film dismantles the mythology of the past, and creates something new, the ones who suffer is us, the audience, who may have liked to have a little more fun, at a certain time, but didn't, because we either felt guilty, or had too much peer pressure, not to go for it. This is the main appeal of the film. This reviewer says, so what.?

While Tarantino's point is clear, his characters are not frustrated and they are living their views and dream, or so it seems. The odd couple that barely escapes their death because they came across a real performer instead of another hacker, got lucky because the girl had to go to the bathroom, and the performer was out to lunch with his mind, trying to figure out the Zen of living with his thoughts.

But PULP FICTION is a very enjoyable film. It is indulgent, but not for all the reasons we are used to, and this creates an entertaining avenue for many of us. The cast is good, in a bunch of roles that are not well defined, but obviously require each actor to play it out to the best of their intuitive minds, which most of them seem to do with relish, which is a requirement to make this type of satire work. And it does work, helping the film be nominated for many awards as it did. It is deserving of them, mainly because it is difficult to maintain a consistency in these kinds of things, let alone do them. Quentin Tarantino succeeds, doing what Oliver Stone could not do.

There is one other thing about this film. In many ways, and not so subtle, this film is a nice thank you to Jean Luc Godard and his film making, with one exception, because Quentin Tarantino personifies Hollywood, he can not do something as frivolous and out there as Jean Luc Godard can do, and this extreme is the only thing missing. Uma Thurman is a carbon copy of Anna Karina, complete with hairdo, and her attitude is similar in some of Jean Luc's films, but other than the don't give a darn and playfulness with which all characters do their thing, the similarities end there. It probably would be more fun to see Quentin Tarantino let all hang out in a smaller film with no budget so he could bust out the film conventions that he knows he wants to play with ... but can't. And this is all that is missing in this film ... you get some fun, but ... you quickly sense that ... something is missing.

Fun film to watch, with great music.

4 GIBLOONS

 

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