What to say about Pulp Fiction that hasn’t been said before? Here’s what it gets right:
Non-chronological editing: Blocks of story slapped together to make sense rather than mark time. A novel-ish concept when it first was released, and still fairly novel today.
A perfect name: It really is pulp fiction: lurid and action-packed. The burger Jules eats at one point is pure Americana. The comically poor rear projection used as Butch is escaping in the taxi is another joke about the cheap nature of the story.
Dense dialogue: Yes, it’s cool. Yes, there are some stick-in-your-head quotes. But what’s really cool is that this is dialogue you might engage in: the kind of conversation you can see yourself having with your friends: intellectual yet dumb, chatty yet snappy, argumentative yet fun.
Here’s what it gets wrong:
Ignorant characters: Portraying otherwise moderately intelligent gangsters as ignorant Yankees (in the British sense) does them no favours. Please, Tarantino, give them some more worldly-wise dialogue than drivelling on about burgers in Paris next time. The rest of the film doesn’t show them this way.
Music: Yes, the music is cool. No, it doesn’t need to play that big a part in the film; the visuals can stand on their own merits. In most of the key scenes, the music is too loud and overbearing. I know it’s important to the character of this film, but it doesn’t need to be shoved down our throats.