“Pulp Fiction” in review

Quentin Tarantino film shocks, thrills and amuses audiences two decades after release

“Pulp Fiction” in review

Photo by Submitted

Story by Courtney Kueppers, Editor in Chief

Two hit men on a mission to retrieve a briefcase for their mobster boss, the boss’ enticing wife, a boxer and a couple staging a robbery all strung together. After these events played out in front of my eyes, the screen went black and the names scrolled I just sat there in awe. Days later I think I’m still dissecting what I saw.

My only exposure to the 1994 thriller flick before recently streaming it on Netflix was the iconic black and white poster, which hung on many dorm walls when I was a freshman, despite the fact I lived in a dorm nearly 20 years after Quentin Tarantino directed the star studded cast.

I think my initial reaction explains why “Pulp Fiction” has stood the test of time thus far and is still commonly viewed by college kids everywhere: it’s unlike anything else and it gets you thinking.

The vividness of the character portrayed by Uma Thurman with jet black hair, John Travolta with a mullet, Samuel L. Jackson before his hair turned gray and a baby faced Tarantino is what is most striking. Along with the immense amount of violence and a remarkable 429 curse words. Oh and Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken and Harvey Keitel.

It’s really no surprise this film was Tarantino’s launch pad from struggling film writer to household name.

The 2.5 hour independent film chronicles a group of criminals living in early ’90s Los Angeles, it was made for a mere $8.5 million and reeled in $214 million worldwide. When the movie originally hit the big screens it was viewed as “a high point in a low age,” by the Los Angeles Times and “nothing less than the reinvention of mainstream American cinema,” by Entertainment Weekly.

In late 2012, The New York Times said “Pulp Fiction” helped give Tarantino a reputation “as someone who could break all the rules, making movies that were simultaneously stylish, exciting and knowingly cheesy, and somehow get away with it.” I think that beautifully sums up the prestigious film maker and his strange, strange breakout film.

It’s an intertwined story of violence, seduction and suspense. It’s also incredibly confusing: it requires you to pay attention and pick up on detail in a way most movies don’t. It’s also a movie you cannot possibly appreciate until it’s over. During my inaugural viewing of the flick I was amused, repulsed, confused and tempted to turn it off: don’t. Watch it all the way through.

So order a royale with cheese, a $5 milkshake and check it out this weekend. Shows are at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Woodland Theater in Davies Center.