The cream of the crop of quirky crime thrillers
RELEASED IN 1994 and written & directed by Quentin Tarantino, "Pulp Fiction" (1994) is a drama/thriller/black comedy about two hit men in Los Angeles (John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson), their mob boss & his wife (Ving Rhames and Uma Thurman) and a champion boxer who incurs the wrath of the boss (Bruce Willis).
The lurid, droll tale is told in a non-linear fashion, but it's easy to follow and the final act ties everything up nicely. The dialogue's witty and the story maintains your attention, despite its 2 hour and 34 minutes runtime. The film's stylish and pulsates with energy and innovation; it understandably influenced many 90's films and beyond.
I put off seeing this iconic picture until almost twenty years after its release because the protagonists are all big city gangsters or somehow involved with 'em. These are lawless people who would kill a person without batting an eye. Their god is money or hedonism. Let ’em shoot each other to smithereens for all I care. But if you can look beyond this and the constant profanities, the film's worth your time. What redeems it for me, besides the all-around entertaining movie-making, is that it's a tale of redemption and the high price of stubborn folly: The wise person recognizes God’s grace and responds accordingly while the fool doesn’t and blithely goes on his (doomed) way. Once a person receives grace they naturally extend it to others. There are additional gems spiced throughout.
Both Travolta and Jackson shine here. There are several other celebrities on hand, like Harvey Keitel, with many in cameos, e.g. Christopher Walken; not to mention several formidable females, like curvy Julia Sweeney (Raquel), cutie Maria de Medeiros (Fabienne), Angela Jones (Esmarelda) and voluptuous Susan Griffiths (Marilyn Monroe).
BOTTOM LINE: If you're in the mood for a quirky crime drama/thriller you can't go wrong with "Pulp Fiction." It's top-of-the-line in every way, including the subtext.
THE FILM WAS SHOT in the Greater Los Angeles area. ADDITIONAL WRITER: Roger Avary.