Best Picture Profile: Pulp Fiction

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Written by: Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avery

Company: A Band Apart / Jersey Films / Miramax Films

Runtime: 154 minutes

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If I am not mistaken, this is one of the first full-blooded independent films to be nominated for Best Picture, if you get what I mean.

The film is mainly about Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, two criminals connected to Marsellus, a crime boss. The film also features the characters of Butch, a boxer whose connection to the crime network seems blurry at first, but quite clears up as the film unfolds, and Ma Wallace, Marsellus’ wife, a heroin-snorting woman who might just have a problem on taking too much of it. In a non-linear fashion, the movie tells how these characters meet n Los Angeles as guns, drugs, money, and vulgarity make their world go round.

What can I say about one of cinema’s most praised films?

Let me just say this up front: I’m not the craziest fan of this film, but there are really some neat, cool, and great stuff here.

The direction is top-notch at work to give of the most complex screenplays ever written with absolute justice and life. It is action-packed when it needs to be, it calms down when the screenplay does – there is sense of rhythm in it. True, the direction is a bit uneven at times, but it’s for the benefit of the screenplay that it does that, so I say it now – there are few faults in the direction, but nevermind those missteps.

When the direction gets better, heck, it gets a hell a lot better. Certain scenes come that show how this film stands out from the rest of the movies of the 90’s, for that matter. The direction is also responsible for making the film the important film it is. The screenplay is one of the best ever, but it’s this direction that throbs in the inevitable urgency of the film that holds the audience in breathlessness as it goes full throttle.

The screenplay is masterfully constructed, dynamic, full of life, and smart. As the story unfolds, it dives in deeper dimensions of the characters and the events unlike no other film I have seen before. The non-linear storytelling was never bothersome, and I did not care anymore to tie the knots in recalling the vents to make a story told in the usual linear way because when you get the hang of it, you just got to let the sensational dialogue and the gripping characters to take over you.

Every exchange of words is rich, and each line registers the brilliance of the film in every single way. It’s also stylized, but never to a point where you just think that it is just a creation of the writer. The conversation in the car to the hallway of an apartment about Royale with Cheese to foot massage is already a very fine example of how the screenplay creates these characters with these simple dialogues and turning them to the different facets of these characters.

The scintillating cinematography holds the screen with stylized virtuosity while going for apt realism through the images and shadows that each scene features. The playfulness in the scenes are really evident and evocative of what the4 screenplay has and what the direction has to do with it. The colors are richly vivid, augmented by the already impeccable production design, to authentically bring you to a certain place and time that is different from anything you have seen before.

I am not certain of the specificity of the period the film is set, but it is unique for me because it mixes elements of a contemporary film and the feel of the days slightly farther than the time the film was actually made. Nevertheless, it is the atmosphere that you can get in watching the movie, particularly on how it drives the imagery of every shot.

The editing hits you right in your eyes with undeniable force. It holds the scenes with full understanding, giving the beautifully shot scenes the kick for them to be more thrilling. In some ways, the piercing cuts in the scenes makes you wonder how they were able to compose these shots together into a single scene with full ease. It’s just breathtaking at times.

The music engulfs the audience into a totally different world the film is in. All of the music here are pre-existing music, but each piece appears as if it was tailor-made for the film. It makes the film more engaging in some scenes where it is already high spirited. It serves as the film’s anchor of mood for it to channel to the audience the crime-filled world these guys are in, and the feeling of hypnosis it throws in every scene. From the first music, that crazily danceable Miserlou, to the ending’s sunny song Surf Rider, the music transports you to the film with absorbing nuance and intelligence.

The acting couldn’t get any better.

John Travolta, Samuel Jackson, Uma Thurman, and Bruce Willis provide very strong performances that are strong enough to win them accolades that they deserve. With the complicated script they are given, they give their characters the justice, dimensions, and life they need to accurately portray Tarantino’s highly stylized visionary piece with ease and control. Can’t say anything except that I really am very appreciative of what they have done in the film. Also included in my praises are the actors in smaller roles who have completed the film.

Now, I got to say this immediately: I do not fully love the film. I thought it was a bit overlong, but hey, I love lots of pieces of it, and you can ask me those bits: Travolta and Jackson’s lengthy discussion about television and hamburgers, Mia Wallace’s whole chapter, with that amusing twist number and her swaying to the music “Girl, You’re A Woman Soon”, Jules accidentally shooting Marvin in the face, and those other stuffs. I love the film’s pieces. And I understand if others will go crazy about this.

Is this film great? Yeah, sure, or course. Would I want to watch it any time soon? I don’t know. Thinking twice.

For this, the film gets:

4

Agree? Or disagree?

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