Of all the retrospectives screening this year (or at least, of the ones I’m seeing), this is probably the cultural heavyweight. The Matrix is fantastic, Aliens is a classic but Pulp Fiction is clever. And great fun too. I thought going into it that I knew less quotable lines than I did for The Matrix, but how wrong I was (“Royale with cheese”).
In many ways, this is more than the sum of its parts. If you look at the story chronologically, it’s really not all that interesting a plot. The moments of tension are small. There’s no real place the story actually goes to. Stuff just… happens. Of course, this is Tarantino’s real skill. His touch with music, with character, with perfectly timed moments of shocking violence is all very well, but its in the characters and the dialogue that his talent shines. And has he ever really bettered Pulp Fiction? Maybe in Reservoir Dogs. Maybe. Perhaps in the occasional scene of Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained or The Hateful Eight (which I think I really must watch again). But this is up there. This is definitely nudging at being his very best. And its sublime.
There’s not a dull moment. The pacing is fantastic. And you’re rooting for one character one moment and another the next. It’s hard to believe that you’re on John Travolta’s side so hard when he’s rescuing the heroin-snorting Uma Thurman one moment and then cheering Bruce Willis on as he shoots Travolta in the chest only minutes later.
Once again, this one was a treat to see on the big screen. It was made for it. The big yellow letters of the titles, Samuel L Jackson’s bible-quoting gun-toting craziness, Travolta and Thurman’s twist. This is a cinema film and I’m very glad to have seen it in an appropriate setting.
Are you kidding? This was a breakfast screening. I’d barely had a cup of tea at this point.