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Pulp Fiction has been compared to film noir due to its populace of low-lifes, gangsters, and boxers. While the film does play around the edges of the traditional of film noir, it cannot accurately be claimed as a traditional example of film noir due to several liberties it takes with some of the most foundational aspects of the genre…
The most obvious break from traditional film noir that Pulp Fiction makes is by being shot in color. The iconic image of this style of filmmaking is a perception arrived at through its very name. Film noir means dark film and one of its visual hallmarks is the symbolic use shadows and key lighting.
Pulp Fiction introduces a new genre and closes the gap between itself and traditional. A film noir without a femme fatale is hardly a film noir at all. Mia Wallace fulfills the role of femme fatale from the start by almost literally acting as a siren who calls forth Vincent Vega into her lair. The classic femme fatale is a dangerous temptress within whose trap a not-terribly-bright man falls and Mia is certainly seductive enough toward Vince to get him trapped almost to the point of devastation once they return back home. It is exactly at this point that the standard conventions of film noir begin to fall apart.
Film noir has a foundation of uncertainty and doubt that gives way to the darker impulses of the human mind. Upon returning back to Mia's house Vincent goes to the bathroom and engages in an interior debate over the intelligence of having sex with his boss' wife. In a standard film noir, any doubt naturally gives way to impulse rather than rationality. ...
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