A skilfully wrought ensemble piece weaving three interlocking stories, each boasting a familiar noir scenario, and each twisting towards a uniquely visceral, Tarantino-style denouement. Packed with classic movie moments and eminently quotable dialogue, Pulp Fiction succeeds magnificently in meeting the needs of both Tarantino’s audiences: telling a good story well with lashings of blood and black humour, albeit in a refreshingly non-linear fashion, while nonchalantly chucking in enough references and allusions to incite an unseemly deconstructionist feeding frenzy.
Central to the film are Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), who, having retrieved a mysterious briefcase on behalf of their fearsome boss Marsellus (Ving Rhames), are instructed to “babysit” his alluring wife Mia (Uma Thurman) while he’s away on business. Puffy of face and bloodshot of eye, Travolta more than vindicates the director’s faith in his abilities with a performance of rare depth and subtlety. Elsewhere, Bruce Willis demonstrates once again that given a decent script he can sweat, grunt and wryly smirk with more charisma than a platoon of faceless Hollywood musclemen.