Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Royale With Cheese": Pulp Fiction Analysis Part II

Go to Part I: "Everybody be cool, this is a robbery."

Vincent and Jules discuss trivial matters before going on a hit job.
The first scene in the next sequence is probably the most famous scene from the film, certainly the most parodied, and possibly (time will tell) to become one of the most famous scenes in film history. As Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) drive along they discuss trivial matters regarding the “little differences” between Europe and America. We don’t know where they are headed at this point, but we will find out they are two hit men about to carry out a job. Tarantino puts this scene in because it’s something we’ve never really seen in a film about hit men. What do these guys do on the way to work? They talk about the same things regular people discuss. Revisiting the film for his Great Movies series, Roger Ebert notes that “it is Tarantino's strategy in all of his films to have the characters speak at right angles to the action, or depart on flights of fancy.”[i] Whereas many screenwriters use dialogue simply to further the plot, Tarantino uses it to add color to his characters and vitality to the story. For Jules and Vincent their job is just a job, even though to us it is an extraordinary profession.

[i] Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times, 10 June 2001.

Next chapter: "Let's get into character."


  1. It's difficult for screenwriters to come up with dialogue that is witty and interesting to watch, which is probably why it's usually left out.

    Particularly when they are always encouraged (by experts) to ditch anything that is not relevant to the plot, or risk complaints that it slows down the pace.

    Personally, when it's done this well, it's welcome.

    1. I agree with you completely. I found this conversation and the conversation about foot massages so intriguing.