Film Review Of Pulp

Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 1/3/15


  In 1971, director Mike Hodges and actor Michael Caine had a hit in the action thriller Get Carter. The following year they tried to do a comedic follow up to that film called Pulp, in which Caine played a mediocre pulp fiction crime novelist, Mickey King (who writes novels like My Gun Is Long, under the pseudonym Guy Strange), who, on holiday in Malta, gets involved with as former film star, Preston Gilbert (Mickey Rooney), who lures him into a web of murder and intrigue that lacks only one thing: intrigue. The problem is that the film is not well written, not well acted (Rooney is his usually atrocious self), and not really funny- especially bad is the forced narration that Caineís character speaks over the most rote action. Things get so bad that, in the worst way possible, Caineís voiceover either repeats an action we just saw onscreen, or anticipate sit, thus rendering the very point of a voiceover (the condensation of unnecessary action to get to dramatic Ďmeatí) moot.

  The joke of the film is that Gilbert was a B film star, who played gangsters, and associated with real world gangsters, back in the day. He is served by a valet named Ben Dinuccio (Lionel Stander), who approaches King with a large sum of money to ghost write the memoirs of Gilbert. Along the way to even meeting Gilbert, a homosexual and transvestite hitman named Miller (Al Lettieri) is killed in a hotel room meant to be taken by King, and a pseudo-romance emerges between King and one of Gilbertís female relatives. None of this is in the least bit interesting, nor are Rooneyís onscreen tics and neuroses. When an assassin actually kills Gilbert, at an outdoor restraint, the guests think itís another of his elaborate gags. Itís not.

  King then quickly solves the so-called Ďmystery,í which is just that King and some other partiers, years ago, got drunk and had sex with a girl, who died, mid-penetration, and the others decided to bury the body. When one of the other men heard Gilbert was penning his memoirs, he hired Miller, the hitman, to kill both Gilbert and King. But, since Miller was killed off earlier, who is the assassin on the loose?

  Simple. Itís Miller, who faked his death. This is easily seen, as, earlier in the film, no one even realizes Miller supposedly Ďdied.í But, through it all, one emotion overrides, and that is apathy. Simply put, a viewer simply feels nothing for any of these characters. They are so apathetically realized that they donít even rise to the level of stereotypes. All of this can be pinned on the bad screenplay by Hodges. The anomic cinematography, by Ousama Rawi, does not help matters. George Martinís scoring is also non-noteworthy, and often non-existent, in a negative sense. At times, the whole film feels like it was filmed by a bunch of college kids on spring break. About the only positive thing one can say about this film is that it only runs about 95 minutes in length.

  Yet, oddly, itís not a film that is even bad enough to be memorable, therefore it doesnít even grate on oneís mind. Itís just utterly forgettable. And yes, there are odd little details that I could go into, but, I simply am not moved to do so. The film never even rewards its viewers for recognizing its details, so they become superfluous.

  Regardless, Pulp is inoffensive, at least, in its sterile badness. Itís not going to move you, in either direction, so, at least consider your bowels safe, for what itís worth.


[An expurgated version of this article originally appeared on the Hackwriters website.]

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