When a film becomes a classic piece of film history it can be for various reasons, the plot, the characters or the actors themselves. Well in the case of Pulp Fiction (1994) it could be said that everything above counted, but it was Quentin Tarantino’s direction that really brought this piece to life. Pulp Fiction is one of those films that are intertexually referenced throughout contemporary culture and is one of the first ‘cult’ films that most people see.
Tarantino’s films take completely unbelievable characters, dialogue and situations, mix them with heaps of violence and a great soundtrack and somehow come out with a flamboyant realistic story. Tarantino’s authorship is a big part throughout the film as it has his typical comic book style exaggerated fights mixed with Kung Fu and Grindhouse, that being an odd subject matter, sex and violence. In the un-linear timeline of Pulp Fiction there are stories that seem laughable and unbelievable, such as when Butch gets into the predicament in the basement, but Tarantino makes us believe every moment.
The shots in Pulp Fiction are something that Tarantino likes to make his mark on, as the long tracking shots behind the character, such as when Butch is walking up to his house, are used in his other films such as Kill Bill (2003) and Reservoir Dogs (1992) . Not only does this add to the realism of the piece as it makes the characters more open and vulnerable to the audience but it adds to the tension of the piece without jumpy shock cuts, as we (the audience) get to see the surrounding location and wonder just who will meet our hero. The gangsters or will he gets away?
It could also be said that Tarantino’s work is edgy and stylised so much, it is critiqued of him idolising the drugs and violence he features. Pulp Fiction is no different in this case as the gangster lifestyle is full of the drugs that, although cause unfortunate events, nevertheless leave them unharmed and unfazed by what they are doing. Colour is another way that Tarantino likes to express his authorship on a piece. In Pulp Fiction most of the world is bright and bold colours are juxtaposed against the stark black suit of the gangster and further again contrasted to the vivid blood he uses. On Butch’s shirt after his nose bleed and Mia’s shirt after ‘that’ incident. Again homage to the comic book and grindhouse world he creates within his work where blood and the good and bad guys are clearly defined.
Pulp Fiction is debatably one of Quentin Tarantino’s most influential and true piece of work, showcasing not only his skills as a director and the great performances he can motivate but his unique style and drive that his films have. Pulp Fiction is Tarantino, in movie form.