Pulp Fiction (R)

Drama 165 September 23, 1994
By Rob Nelson
The perfect movie-buff movie is also a masterpiece of pulpy storytelling. Even in the wake of its hype, Quentin Tarantino's two-and-a-half-hour crime epic remains surprising throughout, displaying an audacious command of narrative as it loops back and forth through 27 hours in the lives of two L.A. gangster hit men (Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta), their boss (Ving Rhames), the boss's wife (Uma Thurman), a boxer (Bruce Willis), the boxer's girlfriend (Maria de Medeiros), and a pair of small-time stick-up hoods known as Pumpkin and Honey Bunny (Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer). Still, the mode is less Altmanesque than Godardian, as Tarantino gets a kick out of putting the star of Grease in a dance contest held in a '50s-style diner, gives Deer Hunter star Christopher Walken a perverse monologue about being in a POW camp, and has Travolta call Thurman a "cowgirl." The director picks through decades of pop culture detritus with the inspired glee of a thrift-store shopper on mushrooms, thus turning his movie into the anti-Natural Born Killers. (Rob Nelson)
Quentin Tarantino Tim Roth, John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary Lawrence Bender Miramax Films