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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Pulp Fiction (1994)



Reviews and Comments

Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction made such a splash in so many different film-going circles that only years later did the furor settle down enough for it to be looked at objectively. One loves this movie or hates it, usually; it's too lively, too shocking, too dark, too wicked to be neutral on. Structurally, it is an episodic telling of a few separate interwoven stories. The film jumps back and forth in time somewhat -- not excessively or gratuitously -- so that we can focus on simultaneous events at different times.

The writing is what makes Pulp Fiction noteworthy at all. The story elements themselves can't carry the film -- but the dialogue, each line uniquely suited to its speaker, is riveting. There is a rhythm here that compels our attention. Long scenes of much dialogue and little action are unusually engaging. When there is action, it is abrupt, shocking, and unforgettable.

I don't know if the underworld, of thugs and thieves and hitmen, resembles anything like the glimpse of it we get in Pulp Fiction. But if we absolutely must have this darker side of society in our midst, it ought to be.