Klawans, Stuart, The Nation
Short Takes: Lost in admiration for Ed Wood, I can tear myself away only momentarily to praise many other excellent films opening as the wretched cinematic summer yields to fall.
Closest to Ed Wood in point of departure, though not in spirit, is Pulp Fiction, a big, splashy picture that was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. So pervasive has Tarantino become that one strains to recall when his name was unknown--all of three years ago. Fortunately, he has now made good on the promise of his first auteur job, Reservoir Dogs, with its relentless and highly influential attitude of "Hey, Ma, look at me." This time, too, you can't tear your eyes away; but this time, you know why you're watching.
Blissfully indifferent to today's two prevalent modes of drama--psychological naturalism and allegory--Tarantino instead sticks to the tradition of Shakespeare, Goldoni and the Warner brothers, giving you, as his characters, a parade of personalities writ large: Butch the Boxer, Marsellus the Gangster, Vincent the Hit Man, Mia the Moll. When figuring out his stories, Tarantino apparently asks himself, quite simply, what sorts of things might happen to such personalities. …