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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Pulp Fiction Review/Analysis

Quinton Tarintino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction still holds up today as a modern classic. Its non linear storytelling and compelling characters offer an experience that’s unique and interesting. The films writing and direction is brilliant right from the start, as Tarintino’s witty dialogue and brilliant cast are brought together with fantastic results.

The films storys are a trilogy of shorts that all link into each other in some way. Story 1 deals with Vince Vega being given the job of taking a crime boss’s wife out to dinner, story 2 deals with a heavy weight boxer refusing to take a dive and taking the dive money anyway, and story 3 deals with an accidental bullet to the head and the need to then dispose of the body.

The storys seem simplistic from a glance but once viewed up close are actually fairly deep and often allegorical in nature. A great example of this is the boxer’s story, called The Golden Watch. The Golden Watches main theme is honour, honour that is represented with a watch that was passed down from people who fought in wars and all valued the watch. The stories central character called Butch is as much a warrior as his previous relatives were, as they were soldiers when owning the watch. The entire story plays out like a war, with Tarintino cleverly and subtlety portraying scenes as if they were metaphorical war zones, ranging from sneaking through a hole in a fence, to the sound of radio chatter and airplanes flying overhead.

(image above) The fence looks very similar to barbed wire.


  (image left) Butch goes through a hole in a fence as if infiltrating an enemy stronghold.

Each story has their own theme. There are technically 5 stories in total, but one of them acts as an introduction, introducing 2 hit man characters that are part of the film main cast, and the other acts as an epilogue that follows on from the films very first scene in which a couple plan to rob a dinner. The 5 stories all have a theme in common, with the themes following as judgement, loyalty, honour, respect, and finally redemption. This set of themes are practically religious in nature, with the one of the films main characters, called Jules encouraging the religious symbolism even more with his observations on the subject.
One of the films most talked about aspects is what is the contents of a briefcase that Vince and Jules were set out to retrieve. It has been debated over the years, and according to an early script the contents was going to be diamonds. But in the final film a gold glow was added and can be seen shinning out of the brief case as it is opened so that only the films characters can see what’s inside. People have speculated that this almost god like glow( there’s that religious subtext again) is what people want to see when they look inside. For example, Vince see’s drugs, since he is a frequent drug user, Jules see’s enlightenment, something he has been seeking, and one of the robbers see’s money, the thing they are after.
 (image above) Vince looks into the briefcase

Overall, Quentin Tarintino’s Pulp Fiction is an entertaining, deep, and brilliantly performed piece of cinema that is possibly Tarintino’s best film so far. It uses simplistic pulp crime stories as a basic outline for its many themes and references, and the final result is certainly a good one.

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