Sequences 1 and 7 are partially overlapped, though
Sequences 1 and 7 are partially overlapped, though both are shown from different perspectives. Sequences 2 and 6 overlay, showing why Vincent and Jules walked into Marsellus’ bar wearing such strange clothing that wasn’t their normal black suit and tie. This type of non-linear storytelling in Pulp Fiction helped popularize this form of storytelling in the late 20th century and usher in some extremely popular stories that follow suit in the 21st century like, Memento(Christopher Nolan, 2000), Natural Born Killers(Oliver Stone, 1996), and so many more. Another great part of Quentin Tarantino’s, Pulp Fiction, is the trademark shots that he uses in it and in other films that he produces. Like the use of the “Corpse POV shot”(Tarantino Archives), is a shot that is used to show the person being followed perspective as they look upwards after waking up from unconscious or about to be beat to death. It is seen twice in Pulp Fiction, when Marsellus wakes up after being run over by Butch and again in the same sequence when Butch is beating Marsellus in the pawn shop; this type of shot is also used in 5 other Tarantino films, including both Kill Bills and Jackie Brown. A trademark shot of Tarantino, that he uses in every single one of his movies is the trunk shot, that shows the main characters from the perspective of an open trunk looking upwards at them, seen in Pulp Fiction when Vincent and Jules are about to visit Brett and his associates. One of the best examples of Mise-en-scene in the movie, is the tracking shot near the beginning of the movie, that follows Vincent and Jules in the building as they continue their conversation on foot massages on their way to the apartment that they’re about to bust into. The camera keeps them in the front of the frame and dominating the attention of what’s going on, it even follows them as they go up an elevator and go past the apartment and down a hallway as the time is not right. Also, the camera work in the movie and editing, make the movie appear almost cartoonish, as a red light can be seen pulsing over the screen as Vincent and Jules shoot Brett in the same scene, giving a nod to the way comic books use red in an epic battle. Then in the next scene in the bar, the glow of the lights is red, giving everything a reddish tint. Another great display of mise-en-scene is the coloring in Mia and Marsellus’ house, as almost everything is white, the couch, carpet, the walls, making her seem almost innocent, although her husband is very far from that. She also communicates with Vincent for the first time through an intercom, giving her a sense of dominance over him, as she could be seen as a higher power, because Vincent knows if anything happens to her, then Marsellus is probably going to kill him.The film is classified as a Crime/Thriller, but is also called Neo-Noir for the way that the mood of the movie is played, and it also has throw ins of other genres to add to the movies degree of uniqueness. The film is stereotypical for a Neo-Noir in that it follows criminals and borders on the lines of right and wrong, and moral and immoral, but it also uses suspense to keep the viewer on their toes and on the edge of their seats, it gives the viewer a sense of excitement, anticipation, and tension, that come from the unpredictable and rousing events seen in the movie. Pulp Fiction uses suspense in the film with its use of impending doom, like when Mia overdoses on heroin thinking it’s cocaine, and the audience doesn’t know whether or not she’ll live for the next 6 minutes as Vincent has to get her to a friend’s house and inject her with adrenaline, or after the Prelude to the sequence, when the scene suddenly cuts after Vincent and Jules open fire on Brett, one of Marsellus’ associates. Another great use of mood in the movie is comedy/black comedy, which is also one of the subgenres of the film. The movie uses humor that doesn’t demand a laugh to help keep the movie along, playing the mood as more serious, but still straying away from the extreme seriousness of the scene, an example of this is when Vincent and Jules discuss what the name of McDonald burgers are called in France, how they dip fries in mayo, and foot rubs, instead of the actual task of the job in front of them. This type of convo is something that maybe find comical in the sense that these two are supposed to be Marsellus’ hard hitting employees and instead of being super serious they’re discussing European lingo on sandwiches. The use of black comedy that is the most prevalent in Pulp Fiction, is during the pawn shop scene when Butch is trying to figure out what weapon to use to kill the shop owner and his security guard cousin. The scene is almost cartoonish in the way that the items become more and more absurd and violent in their uses, starting with a hammer, moving to a bat, then a chainsaw, and finishing with the weapon of choice, a katana blade. The use of black comedy in this film allows for it be more than just a crime/thriller, it allows for a bit of relaxation and extra enjoyment from the violence and hell that Butch may bring with each weapon. Tarantino’s mastery use of chronological manipulation and use of trademarked shots in his film, and others to follow, plus the use of altering moods in the film, allow the cinematic style of this film to be the Cult classic that it is. Pulp Fiction, holds perfect examples of the Crime/Thriller genre, as it has many of the themes central to Crime and Thriller films. Crime films themes and values can be described as, “Crime stories in this genre often highlight the life of a crime figure or a crime’s victim(s). Or they glorify the rise and fall of a particular criminal(s), gang, bank robber, murderer or lawbreakers in personal power struggles or conflict with law and order figures, an underling or competitive colleague, or a rival gang. Headline-grabbing situations, real-life gangsters, or crime reports have often been used in crime films. Gangster/crime films are usually set in large, crowded cities, to provide a view of the secret world of the criminal: dark nightclubs or streets with lurid neon signs, fast cars, piles of cash, sleazy bars, contraband, seedy living quarters or rooming houses.”(Dirk). Pulp Fiction falls into a lot of these themes, as the movie follows two workers of a crime boss in Los Angeles, who owns a bar that is used in the movie as a setting for a showing of all of the main characters in one place, except one, Mia Wallace. The contraband in the movie can be the briefcase that Vincent and Jules get Brett and his friends that contains the gold glow that is never revealed what it is, and it does somewhat show the fall of a criminal, as Marsellus is raped during a scene in the film, and that can be seen as psychological fall, as he is a large, hulking man that is overpowered by two weaker men, though he tries not to show it when he talks to Butch after he saves him. Finally from the sense of the Thriller themes, the movie uses the theme of Pursuit, in that Vincent and Jules are in pursuit of a briefcase that belongs to Marsellus, Marsellus is in pursuit of Butch after he didn’t throw a fight that he agreed to throw after being paid a copious amount of money, and Butch is in pursuit of the gold watch from his dad and freedom from the grips of Marsellus. The themes in this movie, help it fall in with the Crime/Thriller genre from the way that it follows criminals, in a large city, that include an on foot chase scene, suspense in a mexican standoff in a diner, the pursuit of multiple characters, and the way that the film keeps viewers on the edge of their seats in the way that it switches up the chronological order of the film, not allowing them to predict what may happen next. What has it subvert and stray away from the standard Crime/Thriller film, is its use of black comedy to keep the film in a lighter mood, but also allow for the violence to be even more violent and fun to enjoy. Quentin Tarantino uses personal themes in all of his movies, that occur in multiple films, that give his films a great personal touch and uniqueness to them, in a way that no one can copy. One of those that is used in Pulp Fiction, is that of the foot fetish, it is present when Mia first walks into frame and it follows her barefeet across the carpet, and in the twist dance competition in “Jack Rabbit Slims” when both Vincent and Mia take their shoes off. This type of theme is also present in “From Dusk till Dawn”, both “Kill Bills” more than a half dozen times each, and in “Death Proof” as well, where the opening sequence is of the main characters feet on the dashboard of a car. Another prevalent theme in Tarantino’s films is the use of a Torture Scene, something to make the audience uncomfortable. The rape of Marsellus in Pulp Fiction, is definitely an uncomfortable scene and one that makes someone question why they’re watching the film. Torture scenes also appear in “Reservoir Dogs”, “Inglorious Bastards” with the Nazi carvings in Nazi’s foreheads, and “True Romance”. But, Quentin Tarantino’s favorite theme that he uses in almost all of his movies, is that of the restaurant/bar or the car scene, two locations he uses to emphasis the importance of a conversation between characters, where you know something important, very serious, something pivotal to the plot is going to occur, or just as the opening to the film. Pulp Fiction, the film starts and ends in the Diner, Jules time as a hitman/criminal ends in the diner; in “Inglorious Bastards” a bar is used as a meeting point for a double agent, where many people are slain, and where the main antagonist discovers the protagonists plan, starting point for Vincent and Jules’ characters, the opening to “Death Proof” and the bride in “Kill Bill 2”. Tarantino’s use of his own movie themes, allow for his movies to have a sense of overlay and connectivity that many viewers have theorize mean that all of his movies exist in the same universe, and somehow all have a part of another in them. Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, is a Crime/Thriller, that defined the 90s and what the Postmodern movement of film was, his use of nonlinear storytelling allowed for a film that was suspense, and gripping. It filled in perfectly to the genres that critics have described it as, but it also showed light of other small subgenres in it, like comedy and black comedy, whilst being an Indie film, as it was independently written and produced by Tarantino and Miramax studios. This film deserves the cult following that is has developed as it was nonapologetic for the comedy and dark humor that it threw in, by not playing to the conventions of modern storytelling, and by following a style that is unique to the core.