27 July 2010

On Tuesday 10 August FACT will be screening your choice of the greatest English-language film of all time. You can cast your vote here where we have also provided a few suggestions. Today’s Blog topic comes with a side order of fries, and a Sprite.

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We open in a diner. A bubbly American lass (Rosanna Arquette) is chatting away with her Limey boyfriend (Tim Roth), about the relative dangers inherent to the different locations where one might like to commit armed robbery

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 Young Woman: ‘When you go on like this, you know what you sound like?’

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 Young Man: ‘I sound like a sensible f***ing man, is what I sound like’

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YW: ‘You sound like a duck. Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack…

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YM: ‘Well take heart, ‘cause you’re never gonna hafta hear it again. Because since I’m never gonna do it again, you’re never gonna hafta hear me quack about how I’m never gonna do it again.

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The dialogue bounces along like automatic machine-gun fire, and sets the tone for the cut to those opening credits. Pulp Fiction (dir. Quentin Tarantino) is the film that fans of that most referential of film-makers will hark back to when he finally hangs up his film-almanac and becomes a professional critic (as opposed to just talking like one). As a chase film, and as a piece of comedy, and action, and weirdness, it is flawless.

\r\nThe film that made Thurman, Jackson, and Rhames into stars, and which resurrected the career of John Travolta has as convoluted a narrative structure as you will find, in which characters die and then re-appear (Travolta’s death on the toilet over-shadowing his final argument with Jackson about the meaning of the business they’ve been working in). With highly stylized, but still brutal violence, strange detours into bondage dungeons, plenty of fast food and even more talking, Pulp Fiction is a crime-caper that has at it’s heart the minds of it’s participants much more than the risky business they’re engaged in. The Bonnie Situation, in which Harvey Keitel’s Winston Wolf aids Vincent and Jules in the clean-up of a particularly random piece of extreme violence, is played out more as a domestic comedy than tense against-the-clock thriller. The concerns of real people who go to work and don’t like to see their garages turned into “Dead N****r Storage” provide the frame for a hyper-real, ‘neo-noir’ that brings hitmen and molls into the 21st century.