25. Pulp Fiction

2 Jul

Pulp Fiction

dir. Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino, swaggering showman and showoff that he is, made his own anthology movie, shuffling three disparate plot strands into a single, twisting Möbius strip of a story, obliterating death itself as it moves with entertainingly self-conscious fits, then doubles-back into a final story of one man’s redemption. A great deal of the genius and re-watchability of the movie is in the continual laying bare of the banality within the lives of classic noir genre characters, and that banality crashing against random acts of intense and profane violence, and all of it doled out in a never-ending free flow of chatter-boxy, pop-culturally aware dialogue. Everyone feels like it’s their movie because the muscly newness of the mix is so shocking and close, and the overwhelming unpredictability of events nurtures such a level of audience participation that you feel like you’re there – waiting for Travolta to plunge the needle in, having the barrel of a gun and a passage from Ezekiel shoved in your face, being strapped in a chair with a ball-gag in your mouth. You feel this movie in your guts. Nearly every scene has become an indelible reference for filmmakers ever since, even as nearly every scene is itself a reference to this filmmaker’s teeming brain-trove of influences. It might not ultimately have much on its mind but being the ultimate movie for movie lovers, and it may use its characters’ personal plights as mere springboards for eventual disturbing acts of violence, but that doesn’t make those plights any less fascinating. Chief among them is the ongoing spiritual quest of Jules, who comes to believe he’s been rescued from certain death by God Himself – and he has what can only be called a conversion experience over a muffin and coffee. The movie is finally a true collaboration of the sacred and the profane.

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