Downtown Los Angeles: lovebirds Honey Bunny and Pumpkin plan to hold up a diner. Hitmen Vincent and Jules are asked to recover some stolen property. Washed-up boxer Butch is paid to throw his last fight but has other ideas. The Wolf has to get Vincent and Jules out of a sticky situation. And Vincent is nervous when he has to escort his boss’s wife for the night – with good reason.
While not as abrasive or compelling as Reservoir Dogs (1992), this follow-up confirmed Quentin Tarantino’s genius for writing hard-boiled comic dialogue. It also demonstrated a control over a wealth of characters and cross-plots that was simply astonishing for a film-maker still, essentially, in the process of learning his trade.
Originally called Black Mask, the picture went on to scoop the Palme d’Or at Cannes and win Oscars for Tarantino and his co-writer Roger Avary.
Scorching though the writing is, it needed a high-calibre cast to carry it off. Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Maria de Medeiros and Christopher Walken are excellent, but the revitalised John Travolta and the then largely unknown Samuel L Jackson are unforgettable.
As much pop as pulp, this is exhilarating stuff and clearly one of the best films of the 1990s.
Samuel L Jackson
Maria de Medeiros
Buddy Holly Waiter