47. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Written by Roger Avary and Quentin Tarantino

Produce by Lawrence Bender

Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma turman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros, Vic Rimmes, Eric Stoltz, Rossanna Arquete, Christopher Walken, Steve Bucemi and Bruce Willis.

Country: United States

Release date: October 14, 1994

Running time: 154 minutes

Why you should see it?

This is a crime film known for its rich, eclectic dialogue, its ironic mix of humor and violence. Pulp Fiction is a nonlinear story and host a lot of cinematic allusions and pop culture references.

it’s safe to say that Pulp Fiction is the movie that change the way we see and make films. The narration is innovator and the technical part of the film is brilliant, the editing is perfect and adhoc to the story.

The characters are appealing even though they are not worthy to be appealing, and the dialogues are unique quick and smart, sometimes it seems to come from a different language. It can be profane, street smart and full with racial epithets.

The cherry of the pie is the soundtrack that complement the homage to pop culture.

Plot

“Pumpkin”  and “Honey Bunny”are having breakfast in a diner. They decide to rob it after realizing they could make money off the customers as well as the business, as they did during their previous heist. Moments after they initiate the hold-up, the scene breaks off and the title credits roll.

As Jules Winnfield drives, Vincent Vega talks about his experiences in Europe, from where he has just returned: the hash bars in Amsterdam, the French McDonald’s and its “Royale with Cheese”. The pair—both wearing dress suits—are on their way to retrieve a briefcase from Brett, who has transgressed against their boss, gangster Marsellus Wallace. Jules tells Vincent that Marsellus had someone thrown off a fourth-floor balcony for giving his wife a foot massage. Vincent says that Marsellus has asked him to escort his wife while Marsellus is out of town. They conclude their banter and “get into character”, which soon involves executing Brett in dramatic fashion after Jules recites a baleful “biblical” pronouncement.

In a virtually empty cocktail lounge, aging prizefighter Butch Coolidge accepts a large sum of money from mobster Marsellus Wallace, agreeing to take a dive in his upcoming match. Vincent and Jules—now dressed in T-shirts and shorts—arrive to deliver the briefcase, and Butch and Vincent briefly cross paths. The next day, Vincent drops by the house of Lance  and his wife Jody to purchase high-grade heroin. He shoots up before driving over to meet Mrs. Mia Wallace and take her out. They head to Jack Rabbit Slim’s, a 1950s-themed restaurant staffed by lookalikes of the decade’s pop icons. Mia recounts her experience acting in a failed television pilot, “Fox Force Five”.

After participating in a twist contest, they return to the Wallace house with the trophy. While Vincent is in the bathroom, Mia finds his stash of heroin in his coat pocket. Mistaking it for cocaine, she snorts it and overdoses. Vincent rushes her to Lance’s house for help. Together, they administer an adrenaline shot to Mia’s heart, reviving her. Before parting ways, Mia and Vincent agree not to tell Marsellus of the incident.

Television time for young Butch is interrupted by the arrival of Vietnam veteran Captain Koons. Koons explains that he has brought a gold watch, passed down through generations of Coolidge men since World War I. Butch’s father died of dysentery while in a POW camp, and at his dying request Koons hid the watch in his rectum for two years in order to deliver it to Butch. A bell rings, startling the adult Butch out of this reverie. He is in his boxing colors—it is time for the fight he has been paid to throw.

Butch flees the arena, having won the bout. Making his getaway by taxi, he learns from the death-obsessed driver, Esmarelda Villalobos, that he killed the opposing fighter. Butch has double-crossed Marsellus, betting his payoff on himself at very favorable odds. The next morning, at the motel where he and his girlfriend, Fabienne, are lying low, Butch discovers that she has forgotten to pack the irreplaceable watch. He returns to his apartment to retrieve it, although Marsellus’s men are almost certainly looking for him. Butch finds the watch quickly, but thinking he is alone, pauses for a snack. Only then does he notice a submachine gun on the kitchen counter. Hearing the toilet flush, Butch readies the gun in time to kill a startled Vincent Vega exiting the bathroom.

Butch drives away but while waiting at a traffic light, Marsellus walks by and recognizes him. Butch rams Marsellus with the car, then another automobile collides with his. After a foot chase the two men land in a pawnshop. The shopowner, Maynard, captures them at gunpoint and ties them up in a half-basement area. Maynard is joined by Zed; they take Marsellus to another room to rape him, leaving a silent masked figure referred to as “the gimp” to watch a tied-up Butch. Butch breaks loose and knocks out the gimp. He is about to flee when he decides to save Marsellus. As Zed is sodomizing Marsellus on a pommel horse, Butch kills Maynard with a katana. Marsellus retrieves Maynard’s shotgun and shoots Zed in the groin. Marsellus informs Butch that they are even with respect to the botched fight fix, so long as he never tells anyone about the rape and departs Los Angeles forever. Butch agrees and returns to pick up Fabienne on Zed’s chopper.

The story returns to Vincent and Jules at Brett’s. After they execute him, another man bursts out of the bathroom and shoots wildly at them, missing every time before an astonished Jules and Vincent return fire. Jules decides this is a miracle and a sign from God for him to retire as a hitman. They drive off with one of Brett’s associates, Marvin, their informant. Vincent asks Marvin for his opinion about the “miracle”, and accidentally shoots him in the face.

Forced to remove their bloodied car from the road, Jules calls upon the house of his friend Jimmie. Jimmie’s wife, Bonnie, is due back from work soon and he is very anxious that she not encounter the scene. At Jules’s request, Marsellus arranges for the help of Winston Wolf . “The Wolf” takes charge of the situation, ordering Jules and Vincent to clean the car, hide the body in the trunk, dispose of their own bloody clothes, and change into T-shirts and shorts provided by Jimmie. They drive the car to a junkyard, from where Wolf and the owner’s daughter, Raquel, head off to breakfast and Jules and Vincent decide to do the same.

As Jules and Vincent eat breakfast in a coffee shop the discussion returns to Jules’s decision to retire. In a brief cutaway, we see “Pumpkin” and “Honey Bunny” shortly before they initiate the hold-up from the movie’s first scene. While Vincent is in the bathroom, the hold-up commences. “Pumpkin” demands all of the patrons’ valuables, including Jules’s mysterious case. Jules surprises “Pumpkin” , holding him at gunpoint. “Honey Bunny”, hysterical, trains her gun on Jules. Vincent emerges from the restroom with his gun trained on her, creating a Mexican standoff. Reprising his pseudo-biblical passage, Jules expresses his ambivalence about his life of crime. As his first act of redemption, he allows the two robbers to take the cash they have stolen and leave, pondering how they were spared and leaving the briefcase to be returned to Marsellus, finishing the hitman’s final job for his boss.

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