Saturday, 29 June 2013

Pulp Fiction (5 Stars)

As much as I love watching new films, it's good to go back and rewatch my favourite films. This is definitely one of them. It's commonly regarded as Quentin Tarantino's best film. I'm not sure whether I agree with that. It's not that I disagree. I just can't pick a favourite. They're all classics, in their own way.

I made a lot of notes with things I wanted to write about this film, but since I'm certain I'll watch it again soon I'll save them till later. This time I'll just talk about John Travolta's character, Vincent Vega, going to the toilet. Or at least, that's what they call it in England. The Americans prefer to say "restroom", as if people went there to relax.

Vincent goes to the toilet three times during the film. I'll describe them in chronological order, not the order they're shown in the film. The first time is for a piss, the second time is for a shit -- I'm quoting him, he uses the P and S words, I don't -- and the third time he doesn't say, but it's obviously a shit. The last two times he's shown reading a Modesty Blaise novel on the toilet. This book is the pulp fiction after which the film is named. All three visits to the toilet have an impact on the story.

1. The first time he goes to the toilet Marsellus' wife Mia overdoses while he is out of the room.

2. The second time he goes to the toilet the restaurant robbery starts while he is away.

3. The third time he goes to the toilet Butch enters the house and is able to shoot him. Vincent is knocked back into the toilet by the blast and lies dead clutching the Modesty Blaise novel.

In addition, there are three other visits to the toilet by other characters, which have less impact. It's interesting that Vincent is present on all three occasions.

1. The unnamed fourth man is in the toilet when Vincent and Jules enter the apartment. He emerges with a gun in his hand, but when he shoots he misses.

2. The robber Yolanda says she wants to go to the toilet, which would have ended the Mexican standoff, but she's persuaded to hold it.

3. Mia goes to the toilet in the restaurant, which gives Vincent time to find something to say.

Is there a significance to these repeated visits to the toilet? They're too frequent to be accidental. I can't see any internal significance, but it's been suggested that Quentin Tarantino is paying homage to the 1989 film "God of Gamblers", which was also driven by repeated visits to the toilet.

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