A tricky story, intertwined plots, fascinating characters, powerful scenes… How do you write a story like Pulp Fiction? Let’s analyze it!
Sequence 3. Butch and Marsellus Wallace. 20:20/23:25
A white on black title picture says “Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace’s Wife”.
However, this title that is coming after the Act I of the plot “4. Vincent vs. Mia”, will immediately be contradicted by the content of the following scene. Thus, this title is partly a false track.
Beginning of a long fixed shot that shows Butch (Bruce Willis) impassible, as we hear a very deep, frighteningly calm voice-over, – Marsellus Wallace’s voice – who addresses directly Butch in an uninterrupted monologue.
Characterization. Marsellus appears very progressively: the first time, it was through a story about him and his wife, then as the invisible sponsor of two killers. We are now discovering his voice without seeing him… He is represented a bit like a sacred being that we would not be allowed to see in person.
In short, Marsellus explains Butch that he is over as a boxer, that he has to forget about his pride and think of his future that will necessarily be a decay. The hand of Marsellus enters the screen to lay an envelope full of money on the table between them. After a short moment of hesitation, Butch picks it up.
Marsellus words, “Feather-weight champion of the world. Who gives a shit?“, characterizes the character of Butch and makes the exposition of this character: this boxer at the end of his career is offered to capitulate – but on the contrary we will see later that his story is the one of a rebellion.
Marsellus from back, a huge bull head, with a large band-aid on his neck.
Progressive characterization. Mysterious suspense on the boss’ face.
Butch looks submissive. Wallace announces: “In the 5th, your ass goes down. Say it!” Butch, with a bit of hesitation, confirms “In the 5th, my ass goes down”.
This gives us the data of the Act I of a new plot, n°5 “Marsellus corrupts Butch”: Catalyst: Marsellus commands Butch to lose his match; goal: Butch has to lose his match to help Marsellus make some money betting against him, Hero: Butch, Mentor: Marsellus, Antagonist: none (the goal only depends on Butch’s good will, not on the will of his future opponent).
Did you enjoy it? Want to know more? Then read the full story analysis of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and improve your scenario writing skills from the study of its script.