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Jackie Brown

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Jackie Brown

Starring: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Rated: R
RunTime: 155 Minutes
Release Date: December 1997
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro, Michael Bowen, Chris Tucker, Lisa Gay Hamilton

Review by Walter Frith
4 stars out of 4

Three in a row. 'Reservoir Dogs', 'Pulp Fiction' and now 'Jackie Brown'. An impressive string of films over five years for Quentin Tarantino who proves he's the director of his generation with 'Jackie Brown'. This is another examination of colourful, low-life characters in the big city (Tarantino likes the L.A. area) and the amount of violence is restrained and the innuendo the film uses is brilliantly amplified by its cast. A relatively small cast this time as well. Twelve actors and their characters were the focus of 'Pulp Fiction' and 'Jackie Brown' has half that number. John Travolta's first movie after 'Pulp Fiction' came out in 1994 was 'Get Shorty' in 1995 and that film was based on the novel by Elmore Leonard. I wonder if it's just a co-incidence that 'Jackie Brown', Tarantino's first film as a director since 'Pulp Fiction' is also based on an Elmore Leonard novel, this one entitled 'Rum Punch'.

Pam Grier, a 70's actress is resurrected in the same manner in which Tarantino brought back John Travolta probably hoping he could salvage another lost talent. I don't think this film will do as much for Pam Grier's career compared to what 'Pulp Fiction' did for John Travolta but she is a fascinating and strong protagonist who holds her own with the other actors.

Samuel L. Jackson is an illegal gun dealer with Robert De Niro is his sidekick and pseudo partner just released from prison. Bridget Fonda is Jackson's live-in girlfriend, Michael Keaton is an ATF (A lcohol, T obacco and F irearms) agent and Robert Forster has the film's most cleverly under played role as a bail bondsman helping Grier execute the perfect scam.

Grier is a flight attendant with a criminal past who now works for a bottom rate airline and she's caught in illegal trafficking before boarding by Keaton and another agent and has to make a deal to help catch Jackson. Jackson, meanwhile, is attempting to get a friend out of jail using Forster as his bail bondsman. Grier works out a scam to get rich, rid Jackson from her life as he is trying to kill her to prevent her from giving the police information about his business and she wants to walk away from the authorities free and clear all at the same time. It's a very complicated double cross which can't and for the purposes of spoiling the picture, won't be explained here.

As I'm sure you recall if you've seen the film, 'Pulp Fiction' used a brilliant patch of returning to previous story lines and didn't tell its story in total sequence. Tarantino does something similar in retracing a scene near the film's last half hour which shows many different ways the characters split and then divulges the consequences of their actions. I suppose this format of story telling will be Tarantino's trademark in the future.

I can't stress the point strongly enough that although parallels can be drawn between any two films just as they've been drawn in this review of 'Jackie Brown' to the points in 'Pulp Fiction', that it is only fair to judge any movie on its own merit and if you forget about 'Pulp Fiction' and relax and follow the trappings of 'Jackie Brown', it will be a much more satisfying experience.

The entire cast has just the right amount of spotlight to match their importance in the film's story line and Tarantino proves again that he has the perfect skill for making the most important part of any film, the script, crackle and vibrate with the most memorable dialogue written by anyone working in today's film industry.

Copyright 1997 Walter Frith

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