Friday, April 8, 2011

"We Should Be Fuckin' Dead Right Now." Pulp Fiction Analysis Part XX

Go to Part XIX: "Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead."

We hear Jules’ voice yelling at Brett from early in the film. Tarantino has taken us back to where we left off. This time we’re looking at a fourth man in Brett’s apartment. He’s listening to what’s going on while holding a gun. In the middle of the Ezekiel speech we cut to Jules and we witness the murder of Brett. Then the fourth man barges out of the bathroom and opens fire on Jules and Vincent, not hitting them at all. Then, after a moment’s hesitation, they shoot the fourth man dead just as quickly as he appeared.

Notice, however, that before the fourth man opens fire on them, the bullet holes in the wall are visible. This is often cited as a continuity error. I’ve always maintained that this is very unlikely. Tarantino is a careful enough filmmaker not to make such a glaring error. Wouldn’t the art department put the holes in the wall only after they had finished shooting the sequence prior to the gunfire? This leads me to believe that there must be some reason behind the holes already being there. Perhaps it’s an indication that there was no miracle at all. The holes were there from the beginning and the fourth man didn’t actually have live ammunition in his gun. But remember I noted early in the film when we see this scene the first time, the holes are not there. What does that mean? Your guess is probably as good as mine. I would say that Tarantino is having a little fun with his audience and also suggesting something about differing perceptions of the same event. This may also explain why the first time we see this scene, Jules’ gun is emptied, but the second time around he still has bullets to shoot the fourth man. But I’m much more willing to write that off as a simple continuity error.

In this shot just before the fourth man comes out of the bathroom firing on Jules and Vincent, the bullet holes are already visible on the wall behind them.

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