Quentin Tarantino burst on to the scene like an excitable sweary lightening bolt in 1991 with the release of Reservoir Dogs, galvanising a new dawn in American cinema and what heights young blood directors could reach with vision and passion for what they do. Many people may have been forgiven of seeing Tarantino as lucking out with his first project, but it is perhaps Tarantino’s second film that really made the world take him seriously as a force to be reckoned with and duly sit up and pay attention to a supposed loudmouth film nerd with grandiose ideas.
Tarantino returned in 1994 with his next picture, Pulp Fiction. An ultra-stylised collection of stories making up an interwoven, non-linear narrative that came as a brutal breath of fresh air. Written by Tarantino and long term collaborator Roger Avery, Pulp Fiction set some serious standards for film in the later part of the 20th century. From its snappy and infinity quotable dialogue, to its expert handling of multiple narrative threads, it was a movie that grabbed the world by the collar and screamed ‘Look at me’. Tarantino enlisted an insanely strong ensemble cast to help make his vision come to fruition calling upon the likes of Uma Thurman, Samual L Jackson, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth and singlehandedly revived the career of John Travolta.
What now has become expected of a Tarantino film, the Pulp Fiction soundtrack is an exercise in how to craft the perfect musical fit to the visual presentation of the film it accompanies. From the beginning scene freeze-frame segue into Dick Dales ‘Misirlou’ to the Jack Rabbit Slims dance off to Chuck Berrys ‘You Never Can Tell’. The Pulp Fiction soundtrack is a masterclass in how to take recognisable music and make it iconic in the context of the film
Pulp Fiction very quickly silenced the critics that wanted to write Tarantino off as a one hit wonder who lucked out. Not only was it nominated for 7 Oscars it was also the recipient of the coveted Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Tarantino’s influence of cinema and pop culture alike can now be seen far and wide, when you hear ‘Little Green Bag’ or ‘Miserlou’ all you can think of now is Tarantino. Look in any film Top 100 and you will see Pulp Fiction sitting in a top portion of that list, for good reason, it was a remarkable feat on Quentin’s part. Tarantino went on to thrill and surprise us with each choice in project to grace us with next and firmly secured his place in the pantheon of great American directors of the 20th century and beyond.