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  • Writer's picturePhillip Radcliffe

Film Review: Pulp Fiction

(Japanese Translation below)

By Hikaru Ohmura

Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American film directed by Quentin Jerome Tarantino. He is known as an avid movie buff. His other notable works include Reservoir Dogs and Jackie Brown. It is well known that he worked on a large number of films as a clerk in a video rental store and wrote screenplays while working. He also likes maniacal movies, Japanese animation and musicals, mainly from Asia.

The film has a disjointed timeline and freely parodies classic films. However, it has even been called “the film that turned 20th century cinema on its head." Why is that?

First, the characters are unique. Vincent Vega is a hit man who works for a gang boss. Vincent’s partner, Jules Winfield, has a mysterious religious belief where he recites passages from the Old Testament before he kills someone. Mia Wallace is the wife of the gang boss. She is a drug addict.

Butch Coolidge is a professional boxer. Fabian, Butch’s lover, likes pancakes. Marcellus Wallace is the gang boss who controls Vincent and others. Pumpkin and Honey Bunny are a couple who commit robberies. Jimmy, a friend of Jules, is played by director Quentin Tarantino. He has appeared in some form or another in films he has directed.

Second, the film contains many hidden elements. Hence, one can watch the film without getting bored. You can also feel very comfortable with some of the foreshadowing scenes. However, the film may seem confusing at first glance because of the disjointed timeline. However, that makes it all the more interesting. This is because you put scenes together in your mind like a puzzle or think of them like solving a riddle.

Third, Tarantino borrows from various films. In an interview, when asked, “You’re ripping off other movies, aren’t you?” He said, “I steal from everything. Great artists steal: they don’t do homages.” Arguably the most famous scene in Pulp Fiction, the dance scene between Vincent and Mia, is a tribute to the classic Italian film 81/2, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

One Japanese film is also paid homage to. It's from the narration at the beginning of the American version of Bodyguard Kiba, an action movie starring Japanese actor Shinichi Chiba. Tarantino is a big fan of Shinichi Chiba and even offered him a role in Kill Bill. There are many other scenes that pay homage to films. Tarantino is very playful.

Fourth, Tarantino is not only concerned with the story, but also with the music. Every film uses unique songs from different eras and genres. Misirlou, a folk song from the Eastern Mediterranean region, is a song many of you may have heard before.

It's no exaggeration to say that this song became famous due to the influence of Pulp Fiction. Then there is “You Never Can Tell,” a song by Chuck Berry, one of the founders of American rock and roll and revered as a rock legend. Many people have been mesmerized by Mia and Vincent dancing to this song. These are just a few of the reasons why Pulp Fiction is so popular.


大村 輝








第四にタランティーノ監督はストーリーだけではなく音楽にもこだわっています。どの作品でもジャンルが違う個性豊かな曲を使っています。東地中海地方の民謡「ミザルー」は、多くの人が耳にしたことがあると思われる曲ですが、この曲が有名になったのは『パルプ・フィクション』の影響といっても過言ではないのです。そして、アメリカン・ロックンロールの創始者の一人であり、ロック界のレジェンドとして崇められているチャック・ベリーの曲You Never Can Tell。この曲に合わせて踊るミアとヴィンセントに多くの人が魅了されたことでしょう。


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