Quentin Tarantino's Oscar-winning black-comedy crime drama about the activities of a shady group of LA lowlifes was one of the strongest films to emerge from the 1990s. It was also the movie that heralded the return to prominence of screen legend John Travolta and confirmed Samuel L. Jackson as a major player.
It's an oddly constructed film, apparently out of sequence, but this is part of its quirky charm. Even before the credits roll, we seem to have stepped into a half-told story as Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer) and Pumpkin (Tim Roth) discuss their criminal future. Tired of holding up liquor stores and gas stations, they decide to try their luck with restaurants. Leaping to their feet, they go into their aggressive stick-up routine, and the titles begin.
We then cut to another half-told story as hired guns Jules Winnfield (Jackson, pictured, left) and Vincent Vega (Travolta, pictured, centre) travel to a "hit". While en route, they discuss Vincent's recent stay in Amsterdam. The conversation meanders aimlessly as they discuss the French name for a quarter-pounder burger with cheese, and question the odd European habit of putting mayonnaise on fries. This mundane chit-chat is in sharp contrast to the ferocious hit that follows, one of the most frightening and memorable scenes ever filmed.
The third thread follows the exploits of Butch (Bruce Willis, pictured, right), a boxer at the end of his career. He's being bought by Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). By taking a dive, Butch has a future in front of him, although events don't pan out that way. Things go similarly out of control when Vincent is asked to take Marsellus's wife Mia (Uma Thurman, pictured) out for an evening.
A blistering, knuckle-shredding ride that's hard to fathom, it's a beautifully written and brilliantly performed film that lodges deep within the memory. Essential viewing.