Pulp Fiction is a 1994 hybrid genre film of American neo-noir, crime, black comedy and thriller written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Now honestly, I don’t know where to being with this film. There are so many aspects that make this film remarkable. From the electronic dialogue, unorthodox structure, ironic mix of humour and violence, and a host of cinematic allusions and pop culture references this film is truly one of the greatest films I have watched.
What is it about?
The film Pulp Fiction is about intersecting story lines across Los Angeles. The different stories range between L.A. Mobsters, a prizeboxer, small-time criminals and a mysterious briefcase.
The structure helps to explain the film in further detail. Pulp Fiction’s narrative is told out of chronological order, and follows three main interrelated stories: mob contract killer Vincent Vega is the protagonist of the first story, prizefighter Butch Coolidge is the protagonist of the second, and Vincent’s partner Jules Winnfield is the protagonist of the third. The stories intersect in various ways.
The film begins with a diner robbery staged by a couple, then picks up the stories of Vincent, Jules, and Butch. The end returns to where it began, in the diner. There are a total of seven narrative sequences; the three primary story-lines are embedded in inter-titles:
- Prologue—”The Diner(i)”
- Prelude to “Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace’s Wife”
- “Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace’s Wife”
- Prelude to “The Gold Watch” (a—flashback, b—present)
- “The Gold Watch”
- “The Bonnie Situation”
- Epilogue—”The Diner(ii)”
If the seven sequences ran in chronological order, they would run: 4a, 2, 6, 1, 7, 3, 4b, 5. Sequences 1 and 7 partly overlap and are presented from different points of view, likewise with sequences 2 and 6. Many analysts describe the narrative as a “circular narrative”. However, the analyst Philip Parker goes further to describe the structural form as “an episodic narrative with circular events adding a beginning and end and allowing references to elements of each separate episode to be made throughout the narrative.”
Below is a YouTube video from D4Darious who explains the structure of Pulp Fiction.
What is the meaning of the film?
After first watching the film, I was actually in confusion as to what the film meant. This was mainly due to (spoiler alert) butch killing the whom I believed to be protagonist Vincent. So after watching the movie I did some research into what the films motive and meaning was. That’s when I stumbled across a video from NBC News titled “Pulp Fiction Explained”. This went on to explain that Vincent was in actual fact not the protagonist as he represented the emotion of fear, where as characters such as Butch and Jules represented the emotion of courage and courage is more dominant than fear. Below is the video I watched to explain in finer detail.