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'Pulp Fiction' is a masterpiece

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Pulp Fiction

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Quentin Tarantino fans recently got some good news. The always provocative director’s next film is likely to be “The Hateful Eight,” and preproduction work has commenced. Tarantino is known for making superb, but very violent films with unconventional narrative structures. It has been twenty years since the release of his signature film, “Pulp Fiction.”

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In “Pulp Fiction,” John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson play Vincent and Jules, professional hit men who live in Los Angeles and work for a powerful crime boss, Marcellus Wallace (played by Ving Rhames). The movie covers several days in their lives as well as those of other individuals on the margins of society with whom they intersect. Marcellus, who is usually asking Vincent to collect money or assassinate an enemy, instructs the socially-inept Vincent to keep his high-maintenance wife Mia (Uma Thurman) entertained during his absence. After a memorable dinner and dancing scene, Mia overdoses and Vincent enlists his dealer, Lance (played by Eric Stoltz), to help save her. Things are not going as planned for Marcellus either when a boxer, Butch (played by Bruce Willis), did not throw a fight that he was bribed to. Marcellus is determined to find Butch, who is planning to flee town with his devoted girlfriend.

All the performances in “Pulp Fiction” are amazing. John Travolta is at the top of his game as Vincent, a stoned out hitman. Samuel L. Jackson is equally impressive as Jules, his more philosophical, but undeniably ruthless partner. Uma Thurman’s Mia commands every scene she is in. All three actors earned Academy Award nominations.

The screenplay for the movie is excellent, and it won an Oscar. The dialogue is razor-sharp and strikingly authentic. From the opening scene during which a young couple nonchalantly weigh the pros and cons of robbing the diner they are breakfasting in, till the movie’s final frames, the conversations are riveting. Many movie buffs can quote verbatim the exchange between Vincent and Jules as they drive to an apartment to retrieve a briefcase.

Many critics include “Pulp Fiction” on their best ever lists, and it is certainly one of Quentin Tarantino’s finest efforts.

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