International Writers Magazine: Pulp Fiction retrospective
Fifteen Years in the Wake of a Post-Modern Magnum Opus
just one of the various films that everyone is expected to have
seen, existing on a cinematic and cultural plain above the comparatively
passé breeds of Hollywood offspring, Pulp Fiction
is one of an elite echelon of films viewed en masse until each line
is memorized and re-enacted religiously.
The infamous celluloid
narrative of an inauspicious day in the lives of Jules Winnfield, Vince
Vega and Butch Coolidge (along with the instigators of a hastily-planned
heist, known by the adorable monikers of Pumpkin and Honey
Bunny) is a genre-defining, critically-acclaimed treasure.
It is essentially Tarantinos richly crafted characters and unabashedly
witty scriptwriting that provides Pulp Fiction with such presence.
An unflinching concern with the most mundane of daily rituals, such
as grocery shopping or using the toilet, are contrasted with the usual
fare of major-production blockbusters; Mexican standoffs, crossroads
car crashes and callous mobsters. All these individual elements are
woven together within a tapestry of deftly slick dialogue and identifiable,
evocative characters. The majority of Tarantinos audience has
never had to deal with the moral dilemma of being paid to throw a boxing
match, or the disgust of being rushed to dispose of any incriminating
remnants of brain from a soft-top sports car, but they will have suffered
the panic of misplacing an item of high sentimental value, a gold watch
for example. Within the realms of the Pulp Fiction universe,
Tarantino was able to create a testosterone-fuelled daydream of the
daily routine, whilst imbuing each character with enough humanity to
restrain the extraordinary plot to a believable facet of existence.
Many of the most fondly remembered components of the film seeped into
mainstream culture and still maintain a stronghold within cult diction.
Iconic metaphoric structures, such as the fantastical Jack Rabbit Slims
nostalgia bar, represent both powerful post-modern comments on the psyche
of the capitalist culture it is immersed in and a physical rendering
of cultural icons that, ironically, the film itself eventually materialised
into. It is indeed one of Pulp Fictions most monumental successes
that it is capable of conveying vastly differing settings, for example
Zeds basement and Jimmies house, and giving each one a distinctly
individual atmosphere that engrosses an audience, promoting the flow
of the plot and preventing the contrasting themes from detracting from
each other. A film that successfully explores the demonic world of a
rapist whilst providing "light" relief in the form of the
black humour used by hardened hit men survives on its ability to treat
each aspect with equal care whilst forwarding an underlying narrative.
The contagious vehicle that entertainingly carries the artisan elements
of Pulp Fiction has to be the engaging language Tarantino gifts
his characters. From Jules unholy recital of Ezekiel to the slick,
unflinching verve of The Wolf, personae are convincingly
portrayed through a series achingly vibrant discourse. Venerating both
the scriptwriting talents of Tarantino and co-writer Roger Avary alongside
majestic deliveries by Jackson, Travolta, Willis and company, Pulp
Fiction has spawned a string of popular quotes as long as Vinces
A jewel in a resplendent directorial crown, Pulp Fiction has
ceased to shock, excite and captivate since its premiere at 1994s
Cannes Film Festival and sustains its fresh appeal and cutting-edge
wit despite numerous re-viewings and years of aging.
Hardie December 2008
Mike is studying
creative writing at the University of Portsmouth
Changing of the Guard
will be guided by President Jefferson's sense of purpose, to stand for
principle, to be reasonable in manner, and above all, to do great good
for the cause of freedom and harmony...'
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