Even twenty-one years later, it’s a challenge to write about Quentin Tarantino’s epochal “Pulp Fiction” without feeling like you’re treading well-charted ground. Tarantino’s scorching second film is one of the most popular, influential and most-mimicked films of all time, spawning a litany of copycat flicks about talky, philosophical criminals and bringing phrases like “royale with cheese” and countless other catchphrases into the pop culture vernacular. Everyone who loves movies generally has something to say about “Pulp Fiction” and so too, apparently, does Mr. Mark Fraser: he’s comprised a supercut of all of Pulp Fiction’s intense close-ups, although he limits his focus here to images and objects within Tarantino’s world – not the actors.
Taken on its own modest terms, the video is a neat little micro-distillation of the film that some folks call Tarantino’s masterpiece. Although the film’s rich, almost musical dialogue is arguably its chief pleasure, its images are pungent and potent: Tarantino’s is a world comprised of snub-nosed pistols and dirty needles, janky locks in flop-sweat motel rooms and crap movies playing on the T.V. It doesn’t necessarily bring anything new into the “Pulp Fiction” conversation, but taken as a punchy, flashy two-minute reduction of the film as a whole, it works just fine. The film’s immediate imitators are mostly out of vogue by this point, but even a casually amoral and crazy-violent piece of entertainment like the recent “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (which also featured ‘Pulp’ MVP Samuel L. Jackson serving as the blockbuster villain du jour) is difficult to imagine without the tremendous cultural impact of ‘Pulp.’
One thing that Tarantino doesn’t get nearly enough credit for – with this film in particular – is the care with which he goes about creating a very real world of make-believe. The peculiar visual details of “Pulp Fiction” – the Big Kahuna burgers favored by the ill-fated crooks in the film’s first segment, the cigarettes (Red Apples) favored by Bruce Willis’ boxer – are not real in any logical sense, but through sheer force of his enthusiasm, Quentin makes them feel lived-in and authentic. You see a bit of both in this video and it’s a fun two-minute trip back to 1994, when John Travolta wasn’t just mispronouncing people’s names on Awards shows and the phrase “Tarantinoesque” hadn’t ground itself into redundancy. Check out the two-minute cut below. [35MM]