My favorite moment from Pulp is the confrontation between Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta). Director Quentin Tarantino creates for us a scene that thrills while incorporating classic elements: the departing hero on the cusp of his exit from danger, dragged back to perform one last task that may lead to his demise as safety waits around the corner.

Coolidge is returning to his apartment to retrieve his precious watch. He crosses wasteland and stealthily enters the apartment, not realising that Vega is already inside. Coolidge quickly grabs the watch and, although we’re willing him to leave immediately, he instead stops in the kitchen for a quick snack. It is there that he discovers the Mac 5 with suppressor lying on a table top and a light goes off in his head – he is not alone. He turns to face Vega, exiting from the bathroom holding a book.

The moment is insane and explosive – the prey Coolidge holding a sub-machine gun, the killer Vega holding the paperback. We don’t know if Coolidge will pull the trigger but as the toaster pops he fires. OMG – he just blew away John Travolta on his return to the big screen! It’s all so unexpected and as usual, Tarantino leaves the audience breathless.

Danny Goldman

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