Pulp Fiction - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pulp Fiction Reviews

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Super Reviewer
January 6, 2015
"Just because you are a character doesn't mean that you have character"

By the time that Quentin Tarantino's sophomore effort reached us in 1994, he had already been heralded as the new wunderkind of American cinema. His debut Reservoir Dogs recaptured the magic of the heist thriller and his screenplay to the bold and brilliant True Romance opened up a real desire to see more of his fast-talking low life's. Pulp Fiction is no different and is now widely considered a cinematic classic. It received 7 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Director and one for each of it's leading trio of actors in Travolta, Thurman and Jackson. It walked away with the Best Screenplay award and it won the coveted Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. On this evidence alone, it's hard to argue that Tarantino not only delivered on, but surpassed, his early promise.

In L.A.'s criminal underworld, the lives and stories of the inhabitants intertwine. There are two hitmen with very different outlooks, a boxer forced to take a dive for the money, a gangster's moll who likes to dance and do drugs and many others who play a part in shaping their redemptive paths.

"...a shapeless mass of matter" or "a magazine or book containing lurid subject matter...". These are the definitions of the word "Pulp" which we are provided with before the film even begins. As a result, Tarantino's masterpiece is self-referential from the opening title card. What follows is only proof of his intentions to recreate the trashy and hardboiled pulp novels of the early 20th century. Even the film's poster reflects the sensational cover art of these novels and it's this attention to detail that's often overlooked in Tarantino's homage to a bygone age. I suppose it's understandable that these details are overlooked considering Tarantino's highly stylish approach. He employs his (now common) nonlinear storylines and chapters, his abundantly original cast of characters and his dialogue has rarely been sharper. Quite honestly, he takes great pride in making pop-cultural references but the film itself has nowhere red the very pop-culture it revels in. To this day, it's endlessly quoted and few, if any, will ever frown at you inquisitively if you were to make a Pulp Fiction reference.

It's not just the one-liners, the observant monologues or the endless back and forth, intelligent and philosophical discussions between the characters, it's the fact that snippets of dialogue actually matter in terms of the overall structure. Something can be flippantly mentioned one minute only for it to resurface with relevance at a later part in the film. Ultimately, it's the dialogue that brings every strand together and it's, quite simply, masterfully assembled.

To embody his colourful characters, Tarantino assembles his most impressive cast yet. Considering his relative obscurity at the time, it was a bit of a gamble to have John Travolta headline the whole affair as hitman Vincent Vega (the brother of Michael Madsen's Vic Vega from Reservoir Dogs) but I don't think I'd be alone in saying that it was a welcome return to scintillating form. Uma Thurman also impresses as Mia, the coke snorting gangster's moll who seems ill at ease with all the violence and whispers that surround her no-nonsense kingpin husband Marsellus Wallace (a brilliant Ving Rhames). Even the limited acting skills of Bruce Willis are all but forgotten as the self-important, ageing pugilist, Butch Coolidge (a role originally offered to Mickey Rourke and Matt Dillon) but the real prize possession would have to be Samuel L. Jackson's Jules Winnfield, Vincent's unhinged partner who likes to quote passages from the bible and believes in divine intervention.

There are so many great performances that it's hard to mention them all. From top to bottom, the whole cast bring Tarantino's dialogue to life; from the aforementioned main performers to the supporting likes of Christopher Walken's Captain Koons who hid an uncomfortable watch "up his ass" for 2 years to Zed and Maynard - Peter Greene and Duane Whitaker's white trash who like to "bring out the gimp" and sodomise their captives. There's even a character who only gets mentioned by name but still makes an impression: Antwone Rockamora, brilliantly nicknamed "Tony Rocky Horror" who's mentioned in an unforgettable, lengthy discussion on the sexual implications of massaging a woman's feet and whether it's in the same ballpark as "sticking your tongue in the holiest of the holies". So iconic are these characters and blackly comic dialogue that most will know exactly what I'm talking about without me having to elaborate and therein lies the sheer joy and richness of the film.

From illuminated McGuffins to Big Kahuna Burgers, Pulp Fiction is one of a kind. It redefined the crime film with it's emphasis on cool and endlessly quotable dialogue and there's so much attention to characterisation that Tarantino could have made several films from his material. Watching "a bunch of gangsters doin' a bunch of gangster shit" has never been more enjoyable.

Mark Walker
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2006
Pulp Fiction skillfully blends the stories of Jules and Vincent, a pair of wise cracking hit-men and their stash of unidentified merchandise, Marsellus Wallace the criminal kingpin they work for, his coke snorting wife Mia, scheming prizefighter Butch Coolidge who double crosses him and a pair of small-time hold up artists. Upon the success of Reservoir Dogs, opinion was heavily divided as to Quentin's merit as a film maker, many condemning him as nothing more than a plagiarist passing off the ideas of better film makers as his own. Pulp Fiction silenced these critics and scooped the Palm d'Or at Cannes and by rights should have won best picture at the Oscars of that year. As you can probably tell, there is enough material here to make three films, but Tarantino's brilliantly economical script (hard) boils the constituent elements into a brilliant homage to exploitation flicks through the decades. The disjointed timeline works magnificently and the film constantly surprises on first viewing and consistently entertains thereafter. Many speak of memorable scenes and memorable lines from certain films, but EVERY scene, EVERY character and nearly every line in this film has become iconic. It boasts an unequalled ensemble cast of the coolest of the cool actors, a similarly iconic soundtrack and it captured the imagination of an entire generation. This film is, and always will be, entrenched in my top ten favourite films of all time.
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2012
Groundbreaking monologue, fantastic blend of violence & humor, as well as a stylized vision builds this film to be one of the best motion pictures of its decade. Pulp Fiction is arguably one the greatest films by Quentin Tarantino and the history of cinema. 4.5/5
Super Reviewer
December 23, 2012
I get asked often what my favorite movie is and the answer is always the same, "Pulp Fiction". The first time I saw this I was 17 years old and asked my parents what "Reservoir Dogs" was about because I heard that the "Du Hast" video by Rammstein was based on that movie. They told me about it, and it sounded amazing. So I went up to broadway video(only Paris people will remember that glorious video store) and rented "Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction" on VHS. I didn't know if I would watch "Fiction" or not, but I saw the same guy directed both, so I figured I would check it out just in case. I watched "Dogs" and was in love and as soon as it ended I popped "Fiction" in. From the opening scene I knew I was watching something special, something amazing, and a movie that I would never forget. I watched it again the next day(something I rarely ever do), and then a few days later I bought them both on DVD(all I had was a PS2 and didn't use it very much). I have watched "Fiction" countless times since and have the entire movie basically memorized. I've boughtt it again on a 2 disc DVD and then last year I bout it on blu ray. Last night was the first time I got around to watching it on Blu Ray, and my god the movie pops and comes to life like I hadn't seen. From the color of Vincent's car to the sweat on Jules head it just make this feel like a new movie. It had been a couple years since I just sat down and watched this all the way through, and the movie still feels insanely fresh, innovative, and special. I was still on the edge when Mia gets her adrenaline shot. I was still shocked when Zed brings out the gimp and I still laughed at how crazy Honey Bunny gets after being so damn sweet. This movie is an extreme movie as you either love it or hate it(I know people that are on both sides), and I absolutely love it. If rotten tomatoes would let me I'd give it 10 stars, because no other movie comes close to giving the amazing experience that "Pulp Fiction" is able to give. I've introduced this movie to quite a few people and it's a movie that when Grant comes of age, I can't wait to show him. If you have never seen this, this I strongly, strongly recommend you rent/download/borrow a copy, set aside 3 hours and just prepare to get your mind blown. If you have seen this, this go back and watch again. This movie gets better with age, better with each showing, and I seriously doubt I will ever find a movie better. "Pulp Fiction" is my all time favorite movie, and if you don't like it then you are a *draws an imaginary square Mia Wallace style*.
Market Man
Super Reviewer
½ August 7, 2012
Extraordinary. What more to say about this film? There is nothing else like it. Quentin Tarantino is a master director/screenwriter and this is him at his best. Great characters, rich dialogue, and memorable scenes are what we get. It's a badass film, plain and simple.
Super Reviewer
½ March 22, 2007
Quentin Tarantino goes back and forth with Pulp Fiction.The story may be over 2 hours and 30 minutes, but those 150+ minutes are fulfilling to say the least. The story is a little tough to describe, but it is safe to say that the film's title sums it up. With the end in the middle and the middle at the end, it all comes around in amusing fashion.Granted, scenes could definitely be shorter, which would also shorten the film. There are some long winded segments, but the dialogue and personalities of the characters push back on any negatives that emanate from the film.There are a lot of memorable characters to go around. John Travolta and Uma Thurman are solid, but the top dog has got to be Samuel L. Jackson. His line delivery is fantastic and a show stealer on top of it all.Pulp Fiction isn't for everybody; however, it is difficult not to recommend it to everybody.
Super Reviewer
January 30, 2007
A masterpiece. Director, Quentin Tarantino has crafted a wonderfully original and enjoyable entertainment. A rich, stylish and sensationally entertaining crime thriller. It has a great love for language, crime movies, film noir and wacky time-twisting events that has lots of wacky action and exciting characters that are all alot of fun to watch. A powerful, riveting, hilarious and electrifying film. It has clever writing, wicked humor, compelling stories, great characters and brilliant film-making. You'll be laughing your head off at times and thrilled at other moments. An outstanding cast. Pitch perfect performances. Solidly directed and expertly written. Bruce Willis is fantastic. John Travolta is terrific. Samuel L. Jackson is electrifying. Harvey Kietel is fun and brilliant. Uma Thurman is great.
Jack Hawkins
Super Reviewer
½ June 15, 2009
'Pulp Fiction' is a film with not a flaw worth mentioning, if there are any, that is. Since its release in 1994, the film has become nothing short of legendary; some may feel its praise from hipsters and venerable critics alike is undue, but I don't think it is. The film's non-linear narrative is so strong, so rich; it keeps you thoroughly engaged and develops the characters in such a way that you begin to run through your head the chronology of the characters' stories, making sense of Tarantino's and Avary's complex script. This complexity makes 'Pulp Fiction' endlessly re-watchable, I have seen it many times, and recently I was lucky enough to catch a screening at the Duke of York's Picturehouse in Brighton, which was an experience that reminded me of how special this film is.

'Pulp Fiction' explores the following principal characters: Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, a pair of loquacious hitmen who appear to exist in a style vacuum; Butch Coolidge, an aging but courageous prize fighter; Marcellus Wallace, a seemingly omnipotent mobster and Mia Wallace, the flirtatious wife of Mr. Wallace whom Vincent Vega is assigned to take out to dinner. The characters' stories famously clash with each other, regularly to chaotic and hilarious effect.
Tarantino is yet to return to this kind of form.

After 'Jackie Brown' in 1998, he spent time making the entertaining but comparably meagre 'Kill Bill' films, which were well orchestrated viscera, but ultimately below him. He then made 'Death Proof', which was an offensively bad, juvenile piece of work with a script of unprecedented annoyance. However, Tarantino made a comeback with 'Inglourious Basterds', which had a rather appealing premise and many memorable scenes. 2013 sees the launch of 'Django Unchained', which, with its ensemble cast and inevitable flair, is one of the most exciting films of the year.

'Pulp Fiction' has all the components of a classic, it has the scope and the quality, it is within the bracket of films such as 'The Godfather', 'Goodfellas' and 'Citizen Kane', films that will be revisited by audiences forever, films that are firmly considered as 'required viewing'.
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2012
My favorite movie of all-time, and the one that made me into the aspiring filmmaker and critic that I am today. God bless you Quentin Tarantino!
Super Reviewer
April 8, 2007
Supremely cool and stuffed with great dialogue, Pulp Fiction is by far my all-time favourite Tarantino flick. Where most films have one or maybe two scenes worth adding to memory, this is filled to the brim with outrageously fun and instantly quotable moments. From the priceless "Butch-picks-a-weapon-scene" to the iconic dance number by Uma Thurman and John Travolta, not a minute is wasted in this ingeniously constructed attention-grabber. I'm usually of the opinion that Tarantino is somewhat overrated, but this is the one exception that lives up to all the hype and rave reviews. A little draggy here and there, but the great style and originality more than makes up for it. A truly royale piece of film-making, that I'm now incredibly delighted to own on Blu-ray. Because as far as cult fare goes, Pulp Fiction is a classic that can be seen over and over again.
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2012
Everything came together with Tarantino's second film. A high water mark for American cinema.
Super Reviewer
March 24, 2012
Finally mustered the balls to watch this movie from end to end. Took off a half-star for the retardedly gratuitous violence. But most of it just made me squirm from the delicious anticipation of said retardedly gratuitous violence.

The Butch and Marsellus story was just so damn unbelievable, I still don't believe what I witnessed. But you could've filled 5 movies with the quotes, priceless moments and plot twists from Pulp Fiction. I said, goddamn!
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2011
"Pulp Fiction". What an insanely entertaining, witty, and outstanding film. You're not gonna watch any movie like it. It's brimming, dare I say, overflowing with style, personality, and colorfully vibrant stars. First off, the dialogue is written so creatively that the characters could be talking about absolutely anything and the audience would still be engaged and glued to the screen. "Pulp Fiction" takes the audience through all its dark and violent moments and even the bright and seemingly mundane moments and still manages to entertain. "Pulp Fiction" is a masterful picture that has been brought together to bring one of the greatest films of all time.
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2012
In my film studies class I got in an argument with my teacher when she said we'd be watching Tootsie instead if Pulp Fiction. This is the perfect art film and arguably the best film of the 90s. I love this film an shows the best of Mr. Tarantino's talents.
Super Reviewer
January 27, 2010
Pulp Fiction is one of the purest things ever to be put on film. From the brutally true language, to the masterful screenplay, to the emotional feel of a perfect story, this is one of the best films of all time. John Travolta and Samuel Jackson have some of the best chemistry I have ever seen as two hit men who have a wide range of characteristics. This film is subtly gory which makes it all the more realistic, the half-hour scenes are breathtaking, and the fact that a 160 minute film with no action can be this brilliant, is brilliance in itself. This film shall go down in history with fury!
Joel K.
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2011
Pulp Fiction is very cool. If I had to sum it up in a sentence, that would be it. But I somehow feel obliged to elaborate, so I'll go on. You've got a bunch of brilliant actors and actresses at their prime, sharp as knifes dialogue (this film has more quotable lines than any film deserves), and a unique narrative structure. This film could be blamed for starting this whole messed up narrative thing that seems much to common place in cinema now a days (although I did like Memento). In fact this has become so common that watching Pulp Fiction now can make it feel like it's nothing new. Like the intertwining tales of the film is an annoying gimmick instead of a work of captivating genius. But this is not the case. Pulp Fiction has kept all that was good about it when it first came out. Samuel L. Jackson, John Tovolta, Urma Thurman and Bruce Willis all have career defining performances as their respective characters. For me it's the characters in this movie that make it so compulsive. There's a host archetypes, but none feel like clichés. On the contrary, they all fell refreshingly unique. This is definitely the best film of the 1990s, and Quentin Tarratino's masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
March 12, 2011
Pulp Fiction is probably the hardest movie to describe in the world for me, because it is just so incredibly original then any movie in the history of cinema. The plot is all these different stories but all these people are connected somehow one way or another, and it just never dies down, this movie has probably the greatest dialogue I have ever seen in a film, and the characters are some of the most colorful and interesting people I have seen in a movie, this story was perfect. This all star cast was by far one of the best things about the film, John Travolta in his best role he has ever done, Uma Thurman as a sly woman who knows how to handle herself, Bruce Willis as a tough guy and plays it perfectly well, and finally, Samuel Jackson as one bad a$$ motha F#%$@ and I think he was the greatest thing about the film, every scene he was in was pure gold. The way Quentin Taratino also tells the story is great as well, he doesn't do it chronilogically but what he does do is give us a couple of different stories and in the end ask us to put it all together, and thats true genius. Pulp Fiction is one of the most original, astounding, best acted, and perfect movies ever, and is to this day Quentin Tartinos best work and one of my all time favorite films.
Super Reviewer
½ December 20, 2007
One of the most creative movies of all times.
Super Reviewer
September 13, 2011
I first saw this movie in 2011 so i may not be able to appreciate the cultural influence that it has had. But as far as the movie goes it is very interesting with great writing and acting, but left me extremely unsatisfied.
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