With the knockout one-two punch of 1992's Reservoir Dogs and 1994's Pulp Fiction writer-director Quentin Tarantino stunned the filmmaking world, exploding into prominence as a cinematic heavyweight contender. But Pulp Fiction was more than just the follow-up to an impressive first feature, or the winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival, or a script stuffed with the sort of juicy bubblegum dialogue actors just love to chew, or the vehicle that reestablished John Travolta on the A-list, or the relatively low-budget ($8 million) independent showcase for an ultrahip mixture of established marquee names and rising stars from the indie scene (among them Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Julia Sweeney, Kathy Griffin, and Phil Lamar). It was more, even, than an unprecedented $100-million-plus hit for indie distributor Miramax. Pulp Fiction was a sensation. No, it was not the Second Coming (I actually think Reservoir Dogs is a more substantial film). But Pulp Fiction packs so much energy and invention into telling its nonchronologically interwoven short stories (all about temptation, corruption, and redemption amongst modern criminals, large and small) it leaves viewers both exhilarated and exhausted--hearts racing and knuckles white from the ride. (Oh, and the infectious, surf-guitar-based soundtrack is tastier than a Royale with Cheese.)
This collector's edition of Pulp Fiction retains several supplemental features from the out-of-print Criterion Collection laserdisc, adding some fine bonus material of its own. A new documentary combines cast and crew interviews from various sources with on-set footage and healthy hindsight on the Pulp Fiction phenomenon, while the Charlie Rose hour from 1994 remains a definitive interview from the peak of Quentin Tarantino's stratospheric success. Better yet is Michael Moore's priceless off-the-cuff interview with Tarantino, Samuel L. Jackson, and producer Lawrence Bender at the 1995 Independent Spirit Awards--a refreshing and high-spirited moment of indie-Hollywood candor, with all pretense of seriousness removed. A comprehensive archive of reviews and articles (including one by Tarantino) will prove of lasting value as reference material, and the exclusive DVD-ROM features include "enhanced playback," allowing users to watch the film accompanied by informative text, or side by side with the screenplay. And since the otherwise talkative Tarantino doesn't do commentaries, an "open-mic" feature allows do-it-yourself commentary--it's like karaoke for cinephiles!