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Friday, 16 May 2014

PULP FICTION 20 YEARS ON

Is there a person over the age of 18 alive who hasn't seen Pulp Fiction - or some offshoot of its pop culture impact? Like exploding brain splatter, Pulp Fiction became the film hit of 1994, and is, arguably, the greatest American film of that decade - perhaps of all time (in a short list that includes Blue Velvet and Apocalypse Now and Taxi Driver, to be sure). A sort of sexier, even darker Touch of Evil for our time.

Soundtrack to our twisted dreams
Tarantino, despite or because of seeming to be a nerdy creep in "real life" is, in reel terms, a cinematic genius of B-thrills and Cannes insight - a rare balance.  Indeed, only a few other Western directors have ever managed to fuse art and thrills better or as well - Welles, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Scorsese are peers.

That poster!  That gimp scene! That watch monologue! That dance! That heroin! That soundtrack!  That amoral ultra-violence! I still remember seeing it with a friend.  When it ended, we turned to each other in amazement.  It was the first time since Indiana Jones when I had seen, in the cinema, a film that felt completely a work of genius, a work of visual pleasure, nihilistic, pugilistic, aesthetic.

Tarantino has never made a better film - and he won't.  Ethically sick, visually jam-packed, verbally slick, it is wit mainstreamed. It's perfect, and structurally so splendid, so surprising, so respectful and yet disruptive of its source genres, and thus, unbeatable.  That's okay, because we will always have his original hit of heart-racing adrenaline.
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