Writer/director Quentin Tarantino's stylish and lurid modern masterpiece is a reference-dropping homage to multiple film genres populated by an unforgettable cast of characters. There's the philosophical hit-men with almost "buddy cop" rapport (John Travolta and Samuel T. Jackson); a gangster's moll (Uma Thurman) with a taste for burgers, fries and coke (not the fizzy kind); and there's a scheming, washed-up prizefighter (Bruce Willis) with -- perhaps -- a ticket to easy street. Few crime movies in cinema history are this intelligent, vibrant, unpredictable and fun. Yet it's not for everyone. Those with an aversion to graphic violence and tar-black humor should definitely reach for Disney's latest feel-good product instead.
Pulp Fiction's three divergent storylines are skillfully interwoven, keeping the viewer riveted in anticipation of each new and shocking plot twist (those 154 minutes really fly by). The dialogue that drives it all is deliciously smart, playful and profane, without a trace of political correctness. Almost as colorful as the film's principals are its endearing cast of second bananas (Christopher Walken as a twitchy Viet Nam vet and Harvey Kietel as the mob's problem solving go-to guy). Somehow, amid all the blood, bullets, freaks and foils, Tarantino manages a fair amount of compassion and humanity. These are not one-dimensional goons but complex characters operating from their own personal codes of honor.
Though initially constructed to appear timeless, the mere fact that Pulp Fiction received so much attention when it was first unleashed on audiences in 1994 makes it very much a film "of the time" so that today, it can't help but feel a bit dated.
Miramax's new collector's edition includes two discs in a trifold case with a 16-page booklet and a mocked-up Jack Rabbit Slim's menu. Virtually all the DVD bonus materials are located on disc two and include trailers, deleted scenes, a couple of short production documentaries, gobs of production stills, a special Tarantino-centric edition of Siskel & amp; Ebert: At the Movies, clips from awards ceremonies, etc. An overwhelming amount of space seems to be devoted to re-establishing the film's legacy and Tarantino's stature as a great American filmmaker (I would have liked to have seen more behind-the-scenes stuff and fewer Tarantino awards acceptance speeches and talk show appearances).
Nit-picking aside, this set is currently the definitive version (although an even more expansive set is on the way) of one of the most important films in American cinema.