Better Than a $5 Milkshake

Jules is still walking the Earth today. The former hitman played by Samuel L. Jackson said he’d be, and he doesn’t get much wrong. He’s probably waiting for a moment, a sign, and signal – something to indicate his purpose. There’s no question Jules is okay though; the man can talk his way through or out of anything.

Pulp Fiction was made for the video store era. A theatrical release too, yes, where it did remarkably well, but Pulp Fiction demands a rewatch, a tape sliding over VCR heads on rewind, whether for one scene or the entire film.

Tarantino sparks Pulp Fiction through spiritual metaphors

There’s nuance to Pulp Fiction. Lots of nuance. Endless even, the type of nuance that’s discovered in essays or geeky discussions by the dozens. Pulp Fiction doesn’t allow for wrong answers, because any of them can be correct. In treating the underworld’s scum with such reverence and braggadocio, Pulp Fiction ruminates on the surrounding culture (or even dwindling standards).

The script doesn’t have “good” people, just entertainingly awful ones. In Pulp Fiction’s world, social norms don’t apply. Beatings, shootings, miracles, overdoses, and murders simply happen. They’re accepted, and so is aggressive racism. Pulp Fiction does everything to make characters appalling human beings as played by some of Hollywood’s most famous people. The result was a box office draw almost unparalleled for such a young director; audiences loved this broken, distorted reality because it stood by its words.

In its funniest sequence, Vincent (John Travolta) shoots a man’s head off in the back of a car. Brain matter sits in Jules’ hair. The car is lost to skull pieces and splatter. It was all an accident. Then the sterility that follows during the clean-up, with respect thrown in every direction, creates a world so utterly broken, there’s no repair.

The comedy isn’t the cruelty, the violence, the blood, or the stinging racial slurs, but the sheer normalcy. In a story about scum, these are the scummiest, yet their coolness is derived from the screen’s mega stars of old. Tarantino sparks Pulp Fiction through spiritual metaphors, thematic tricks, and mysterious plot devices. But the draw is that mixture, bridging classic superstardom to a heinous immorality play as if Bogart never left us, but transferred into John Travolta, only now with modernity’s cynicism, hopelessness, and cruelty. Pulp Fiction doesn’t end happily. It ends in misery and fear, yet with such panache, it feels like win.


Sensational definition doesn’t stop during Pulp Fiction’s 4K debut. Facial texture galore is a constant. Resolution doesn’t go astray, maintaining a perfect, filmic beauty. Paramount’s encode keeps tight reigns on the mild grain structure, maintaining the source material as-is, flawlessly.

Enhanced by Dolby Vision, contrast erupts. Color timing can warm the whitest parts of the screen, if not enough to diminish the pop. A majority of the white keeps a pristine, bright, pure white. Dense, thick black levels look just as impressive.

Satisfying color saturation favors warmth, if not with a modern digital tinge – this looks natural. Boldness enhances primaries, flesh tones elevated, but not exaggerated.


Opening on widely spaced ambiance inside the diner, that’s an immediate impression that keeps going afterward. Surrounds pick up small things like dogs barking or cars passing on the street. Where possible, motion is a constant presence. Gunshots, while lacking any bass, bounce around the room as they echo outward.

Music fills the soundstage and floods the low-end with range.


The included Blu-ray holds a majority, but the UHD has a few bonuses. One is a 43-minute retrospective with interviews galore, including the main stars. A 20-minute critic/historian roundtable is a fun chat. Paramount includes a pop-up trivia track here too.

On the Blu-ray, those above bonuses, along with legacy features going back to the Laserdisc. The distinctly ’90s The Facts runs 30-minutes as it runs through Tarantino’s journey to Pulp Fiction. Deleted scenes include a Tarantino intro, and that takes 24-minutes. Two featurettes follow the behind-the-scenes filming, and production design earns a featurette too. A Siskel & Ebert episode lasts 16-minutes as they discuss Tarantino’s work. Festival and a TV appearance precede marketing materials, including stills.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Pulp Fiction
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


Eccentric, bizarre, but sure-handed in its comic surrealism, Pulp Fiction never offers a moment of reprieve.

User Review
3.4 (5 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 60 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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