Saturday, 9 November 2013

Jackie Brown (1997) - ★★★★

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writers: Elmore Leonard (Novel), Quentin Tarantino (Screenplay)
Stars: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton, Bridget Fonda

Jackie Brown is one funky, sassy, entertaining film! It has such an old-school 1970s feel to it. I just adored the soundtrack, cinematography, dialogue, and performances by Pam Grier and Robert Forster. This definitely has a Tarantino-esque feel to it, but in my opinion, it's the most unique film he has ever made when compared to his body of work. One thing I respect about Tarantino's film-making is that you can tell he puts so much thought and planning into each scene. This is what makes his movies consistently entertaining the whole way through. However, with Jackie Brown, I personally felt that there were too many scenes, and that some of the scenes were too long. The storyline is simple, too simple for a 154 minute runtime. Despite this, I found it to be a very entertaining movie.

Flight attendant Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is in a bit of a pickle. She delivers money from Mexico to the US for an arms dealer named Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson). When the police bust her, she may face years in prison unless she gives them information about Ordell. Because of this, Ordell may kill Jackie just in case she does tell them. Yes, it sure is a messed up situation. Jackie must figure out a way to stay out of jail, maintain a steady income after these events, please the police, and please Ordell. What transpires is a risky and wild plan that may just solve all her problems.

Robert Forster said it all with his puppy-dog eyes!
First and foremost, the thing I loved most about Jackie Brown was the chemistry between Pam Grier and Robert Forster. I think anyone who has seen the film would agree that Grier should have been nominated for an Oscar, and that Forster's nomination for Best Supporting Actor was very well deserved. I felt the spark between them, and loved the way she made him love The Delfonics. I got chills whenever I heard "I gave my heart and soul to youuuu girl." Then I laughed my ass off at the cheesiness of the "Didn't I do it baby," repeating several times.

Samuel L. Jackson gave an electric performance as Ordell, who is loud, vulgar, and street-smart. Yes, many could argue that it was too similar to his character in Pulp Fiction. Sure, he says the n-word and motherf*cker constantly, but there was something in Jackson's performance that really stood out to me. He's the best at what he does. I find it hard to think of an actor who can outclass Jackson in terms of abruptness, comedic facial expressions, and comedic timing.

De Niro and Jackson as crime-partners... awesomeness overload!
Robert De Niro gave a quiet, effective performance as an ex-bank-robber and pot-smoking criminal. I loved his scenes with Bridget Fonda, who played a bratty, slutty, stoner "beach-girl." Michael Keaton played the perfect no-nonsense cop too. Overall, I'd give the supporting performances a 9/10.

The story, for me, was just a simple crime drama with a Tarantino twist. It's thrilling and entertaining enough to be a movie, but it's not enough to be a masterpiece. Jackie Brown is an outstanding film, there's no denying that... but I wanted more. It was missing something that Tarantino's films usually have. It was missing "Ooomf." It didn't pack the killer punch that makes my heart sing, or my jaw-drop. In this respect, it's one of his weaker films, but it's far from a weak-film. Its lack of electricity, plus its over-long running time, is what separates Jackie Brown from Pulp Fiction. 

I just love this film. Whenever I think of Jackie Brown, I think of the song 'Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time?' by The Delfonics. The story is great, Tarantino's style is awesome, and the performances absolutely MAKE this movie what it is. It's even worth having to hear Samuel L. Jackson say "motherfucker" 7 billion times.

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