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Pulp Fiction - Classic Film Pick

Pulp-fiction-poster After reinventing American cinema with his thrilling first film "Reservoir Dogs," Quentin Tarantino delivered an even better one, "Pulp Fiction." It firmly establishes Tarantino's voice as a virtuoso auteur of scenario, structure, style, and dialogue, not to mention casting. With its time-flipping interconnecting stories "Pulp Fiction" showcases Tarantino's gift for planting seeds of budding exposition that spontaneously flower into lush noir gardens of spectacular narrative colors.

Most people come away from "Pulp Fiction" (1994) with a favorite scene. Christopher Walken's coarse monologue about the gold watch that gets passed down from the young Butch's great grandfather is one such example of pure theatrical expression. The musical muscularity of the language is transformative. The monologue explains the older Butch's obsessive drive to retrieve the watch in spite of the danger in which it puts him. Bruce Willis's Butch bites his tongue when his silly French girlfriend Fabienne tells him she left his watch behind. Butch holds his temper until he can let it out in the privacy of his car. Regardless of how offhand it seems on face value, everything connects to something else in the story.

"Pulp Fiction" has a refreshing modern quality in the way it incorporates the realities of such underground activities as drug use and BDSM. No explanation is given. The audience is simply thrown into the deep end and expected to grapple with the most outlandish situations for what's at stake for the characters involved. There's none of Hollywood's audience spoon-feeding going on. Like Cassavetes before him, Tarantino trusts the sophistication of his audience. He doesn't hold back; he edits. The characters reveal their identities in pressurized situations that demand action or at least some very fast talking, and talk they do. The vulgarity that turns some audiences off to "Pulp Fiction" is the same quality that allows the catharsis that Samuel L. Jackson's character experiences during an attempted robbery in a diner. Every character in the story transforms.

Posted by Cole Smithey on January 29, 2011 in Black Comedy | Permalink
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