Books or magazines produced cheaply that are shocking and contain graphic details of horror or violence are often known as ‘Pulp’. The stories within them often have a crime thriller theme. The characters in Pulp magazines were often very unusual and different. The title of the film ‘Pulp Fiction’ then suggests to the viewer that it will contain graphical fictitious violence and horror and will have a crime theme to it. It also suggests that the characters in it will be very different from characters in any other film. The opening scene of the film centres around two characters sat talking in a diner.
The fact that the whole opening sequence centres on these two people signifies that they will play an important role in the film. The man is played by the actor Tim Roth, who played a character in the gangster film ‘Reservoir Dogs’, and can be expected to play a similar role as a criminal in Pulp Fiction. The couple are immediately shown to be two small-time criminals, as they are sat talking about robbing liquor stores.
They aren’t shown to be very clever, as they call the waitress garcon, meaning boy. They are also shown to be quite arrogant as they order the waitress around.This shows the audience the types of characters they are and that the film will have a crime theme. The couple are also sat in a diner.
This suggests that the film is set in America, as diners are common in America. We find out that the man is known as ‘Pumpkin’ and the woman is known as ‘Honey bunny’. These are unusual names for criminal characters in films, which show that the film is different from other gangster films and that it will have more original characters in it, instead of portraying stereotypical gangsters.
It also shows that the film will have a sense of humour to it. The couple are not shown to be very well off (they are eating in a road-side cafe and are not smartly dressed) despite the fact they steal money. This shows that the film will not necessarily glamorise crime. The couple also swear a lot, which shows their aggressive attitude, and gives an idea that the characters in the film will also be aggressive. They are sat talking about the dangers of robbing liquor stores, as the owners of them often have guns themselves and are likely to kill you if you try to steal from them.
This could represent the directors view of how easy it is for people to own guns in America and how commonly they are used. They then talk about how it would be easier to rob a bank, as bank employees are supposed to meet the criminal’s demands. This could be another of the director’s views, showing how stupid it is that it would be easier to rob a bank where there is more money than a liquor store.
This also shows to the viewer that the film will have a crime theme to it.Throughout the opening scene the main camera shots used are medium close ups of the two characters faces, a medium two shot and over the shoulder shots of each other. These are used to show the constant conversation between the two characters and the way they respond to each other. Another shot used is a close-up of the gun on the table. With this shot only being used once it makes it stand out, and shows that the gun is symbolic for the violence in the film. At the end of the scene the couple stand up, waving guns around in the air, holding up the diner.
Honey bunny shouts to the people in the diner, and the scene freezes half way through her sentence, with her voice playing over the frozen screen. This shows to the viewer that the scene is not yet finished, and that it will probably continue after the opening credits. Ending the opening scene here also leaves the film in suspense, showing that there could be some suspense in it. The opening credits to the film then start. The opening credits to the film are written in a western film style of writing.
This suggests to the viewer that the film will be similar to a western in some ways. For example, we can associate westerns with an American setting, guns, violence, criminals, bounty hunters, bank robberies and law enforcement, all of which can be found in Pulp Fiction. The music playing over the opening credits sounds Mexican. Mexico is known as a place where criminals and gangsters often went to escape the law in America. Mexico is also a place where a lot of western films are set, which also gives the viewer the ides that the film will have similarities to a western.