The shared universe of Quentin Tarantino is no secret, with the iconic filmmaker peppering clues to a wider cinematic connection across the runtimes of each of his films, from Pulp Fiction to Django Unchained. For a director who has long enjoyed toying with genre and audience expectations ever since his debut feature film, Reservoir Dogs in 1992, it’s no surprise that Tarantino is obsessed with his own impressive body of work.
Such isn’t just the wishful thinking of baying Tarantino fans either, as back in 2016, the director publicly explained the workings of the ‘shared universe’ to an Australian news network, stating, in reality, his filmography existed in “two separate universes”. Detailing the intricacies of the ‘Tarantinoverse’, the director explains: “There is the realer than real universe, alright, and all the characters inhabit that one,” before adding, “But then there’s this movie universe”.
In the filmography of Quentin Tarantino, the characters of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood for example, exist in the real world, whilst his sensationalised films such as Inglourious Basterds exist in a separate cinematic realm. As the director himself explains, “So From Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill, they all take place in this special movie universe. So when all the characters of Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, when they go to the movies, Kill Bill is what they go to see”.
These links between specific films are littered throughout the work of Quentin Tarantino, with Vincent Vega of Pulp Fiction sharing his surname with that of Vic from Reservoir Dogs for example. This isn’t the only thing that is shared by Tarantino’s two early classics either, with Reservoir Dog’s Larry Dimmick (Mr. White) also sharing his name with Jimmy Dimmick of Pulp Fiction, a character played by Quentin Tarantino himself.
In fact, plenty is shared between Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, with a popular fan theory pointing to the belief that the bank heist of Tarantino’s debut film takes place on the very same day that Jules and Vincent live out their story in Pulp Fiction. Aside from the similar tone and subject that the two films share, the theory points to one piece of particularly telling evidence.
In Tarantino’s Palme d’Or-winning cult classic, Vincent (John Travolta) accidentally shoots Marvin (Phil LaMarr) in the head whilst riding through Los Angeles in the car. The incident leaves blood everywhere, leading Vincent and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) to call a cleaner, Winston Wolfe (Harvey Keitel) to help sort the mess out. The event means that at one point in time, Vincent and Marcellus would have driven through the busy streets of Los Angeles with a blood-soaked car. So why weren’t they pulled over by the cops? The theory suggests that the police were simply too busy attending the jewellery heist in Reservoir Dogs to catch them red-handed.
Is this one of Quentin Tarantino’s many clues to a wider cinematic universe, or are fans simply getting too excited over a potential error of continuity in the director’s iconic ‘90s classic? We prefer the former.