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Pulp Fiction (1994)

You won’t know the facts until you’ve seen the fiction

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 154 minutes

UK Certificate: 18


Love it or hate it – and both camps have plenty of inhabitants – ‘Pulp Fiction’ is the kind of movie it’s virtually impossible to take your eyes off. There’s so much happening, yet at the end you’ll wonder if anything happened at all. It’s gratuitously violent, yet most of the violence occurs off-screen. It’s funny, but it shouldn’t be. And, most confusingly of all back in 1994, it’s John Travolta, yet it’s not ANOTHER ‘Look Who’s Talking’ sequel. What’s going on here?

The tale deals, in no predictable order, with a pair of hit-men (Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson) retrieving a briefcase from a gang of yuppies, an ageing boxer (Bruce Willis) taking a bung and going on the run, and a couple of small-time crooks (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) biting off more than they can chew. The chubby, lank-haired Travolta also gets, albeit briefly, to woo Uma Thurman as the feisty moll of boss Ving Rhames. And all of those guys know how to use a sweary.

Though not the best film ever made, it’s surely one of the most original in its construction – it doesn’t just go against formula, it picks the test tubes up and chucks them against the lab wall. Even good ol’ chronological order has taken a bit of a battering by the time the 154 minutes are up, with the story double-backing on itself more times than I care to remember.

In hindsight, the cast looks incredible – but more than a few of the players involved were going nowhere until this movie intervened (see previous Travolta baby movie reference). It made cult figures out of journeyman actors and beefed up a couple of CVs in the process.

Tarantino’s never been one of my favourite directors. His painstaking approach to every single scene generates the kind of analysis among his die-hard supporters which just isn’t necessary. Enjoy a movie by all means, but do we really need essay upon essay about just what the gold, glowing substance is inside THAT brief case? Besides, it’s obviously ‘Ready Brek’.

It's Got: Steve Buscemi as the deadpan Buddy Holly waiter in a 50s theme bar.

It Needs: To be watched repeatedly if you’re to have any chance of not missing anything. Unless you don’t like it of course. Then that’s probably the last thing you’ll want to do.

DVD Extras Deleted scenes with intros from Tarantino, extended ‘Jack Rabbit Slims’ scene, production design featurette, stills and posters gallery, behind-the-scenes thingmy, photo shoots, Oscar campaign, location scouting and set construction, logos, props and memorabilia, Siskel and Ebert ‘At The Movies’, an independent documentary, and various montages. DVD Extras Rating: 10/10


Exhilarating, innovative, and eye-popping – this is one of those movies that everyone has to see.