Analysis by Jeffrey deGuzman
Pulp Fiction, directed by the legendary Quentin Tarantino, is a puzzled story that weaves the stories of six main characters (Jules, Vincent, Marsellus, Butch, Honey Bunny, and Pumpkin) together. It begins with a couple, Honey Bunny and Pumpkin, discussing to rob the restaurant they are eating in. Eventually they do. Then after the opening credits, the story follows Jules and Vincent planning to carry out a hit and a package retrieval that is dragged on as long as possible. After the hit is carried out, more characters are introduced: Marsellus Wallace and Butch (who is later revealed as a popular boxer). This time, it becomes even more evident that the plot is scattered for Vincent and Jules are dressed different, appearing in a night club, to deliver their package to Marsellus. This scene also establishes the relationship between Jules and Vincent with Marsellus. Like the previous scenes, another seemingly random story is introduced. It begins with Vincent buying an extremely potent drug from his dealer. After a quick hit, he goes to meet Marsellus’s wife, Mia, and takes her out to an entertaining dinner, and to the worst night imaginable. The winding night is followed by an event that begins piecing together Butch’s story, when Butch was a kid and received the family watch. It suddenly jumps ahead, just as middle-aged Butch is about to fight a boxing match. The movie follows Butch to express how important the watch is to him, and exposes more of his relationship with Marsellus. Like Vincent and Marsellus’ wife, it is a rollercoaster of suspense and relief. Just as things are piecing together, the movie jumps back to Vincent and Jules’ hit. This time, it continues where it left off leading to an unexpected revelation. The longest, most emotionally straining story is last and it brings cohesion to the movie by finishing off where the movie started, with Honey Bunny and Pumpkin.
This is my third time watching Pulp Fiction, and I am still hooked to the movie just as I was the first time. Tarantino utilizes very interesting shot variations and combinations such as long, simple shots, with extremely interesting conversations spoken by powerful actors. Each actor has a very unique “swag;” not only are they very genuine within the movie, but compared to other characters in other movies. Another thing that stuck out at me was the acting. The perfect actors were chosen for their part and delivered beyond adequately, memorizing long conversations and expressing just the right emotions for the scene. One of Tarantino’s greatest talents in this movie was luring the viewers through the entire movie. He hid important things until the very last second, ended scenes where emotions peaked, and basically made things from bad, to worse, to a nightmare, while still maintaining just the right amount of humor in the most serious of situations. In addition to his masterful story-weaving, Tarantino does an impressive job of connecting small details throughout scenes, ultimately leaving viewers completely satisfied with no loose ends. What I love the most about Pulp Fiction is its simplicity. The editing and shot compositions are very simple which emphasizes the strength of the story (or stories).
I cannot agree more with the review written by Mike LaSalle for Pulp Fiction, titled “‘Pulp’ Grabs You Like a Novel.” LaSalle is spot on when he states that Pulp fiction is “a 2 ½-hour picture whose energy never flags.” He also explains that, after multiple viewings, the movie simply gets better and better, and viewers notice more details with each run through. However, I overlooked one glaring detail that LaSalle points out, “the only actor in all the episodes is John Travolta as Vincent Vega…” LaSalle further elaborates on specific details that purposely enhance the movie as a whole, explaining the opportunity Mia provides Vincent to “look cool” on the dance floor. There is nothing LaSalle has written in his review that I can disagree with, only praise.
For any situation, whether one is in the mood for action or for a casual movie, Pulp Fiction is sure to satisfy, and possibly exceed expectations. In a nutshell, Pulp Fiction has the perfect blend of rawness, exquisiteness, and simplicity in its story-telling, character development, and overall production. In my honest opinion, no one can go through a lifetime without watching such a masterpiece of visual art which is Pulp Fiction. I encourage people to watch it so much that I consider it a must-see for any and all audiences.