A pop-cinema companion piece to Hodge's Get Carter; with Caine again taking on a character lured into unfamiliar territory, where gangsters & corruption reign. While Carter dealt in gritty violence, Pulp is a deadpan "meta" picture in the Godard tradition; its narrative inertia only occasionally broken by bursts of audio-visual invention. It's a witty film with deeper political ideas, but possibly too arch for some.
Pulp understands its source, classic noir, as it takes satirical jabs at the conventions of the genre. On this level, you understand the film, but the plot is so poorly-communicated and loose that one has to fight the film to see any joy in it, instead of going with it. A shame, because the heart is in the right place.
Even Michael Caine's unique take on leading man suave can't save this dull, lifeless comic mystery. Almost never funny or suspenseful - even though it tries desperately to be both. The characters and gags are forced and annoying. Director Mike Hodges' loose, unfocused style just doesn't mesh with a story that's trying to be sharp. A major disappointment.