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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 David Wilcock
2 stars out of 4

Before starting, I'll get the obvious out of the way first. Jackie Brown is not as good as Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction. Right, now I'll get to reviewing the film on it's own (without comparing to Tarantinos previous films) Jackie Brown, based on the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard, is the story of an air stewardess, called Jackie Brown (Grier) who has the chance to sneak off with $1 million dollars. To do this, she must enlist the help of bondsman Max Cherry (Forster), and try to fool Ordell (Jackson), an arms dealer who kills anyone he thinks will blab to the police (including Grier) and dopeheads Melanie and Louis (Fonda and De Niro) who plan to steal Griers money. Along the way, she must also use the help of cop Ray Nicloet (Keaton) who wants to take Ordell down. Throughout the plot is Tarantino typically good dialogue, and some good performances from Grier, Fonda and Forster. Tarantino has written another good script, but it seems more restrained because he is working from a novel. Somehow, the script never reaches the dizzy heights of Pulp Fiction (1994), which is a shame. Tarantino is a great scriptwriter, but not such a great adapter. He needs more creative freedom. Hopefully, he won't adapt another book after this movie. I have not read the novel Rum Punch, so I don't know how close the characters are to to the book, but the performances were all pretty good. Grier, a former blaxploitation star and seen recently in Mars Attacks! (1996) is good as Jackie Brown, delivering a suitably 'hard ass' image (although it's difficult to believe she could be an air stewardess.) Jackson is practically repeating his role as Jules in Pulp Fiction, which is a shame. His character isn't very interesting, but he is funny, and he has some of the best one liners in the movie. Fonda is superb, and very sexy, as dopehead Melanie, but she hardly features in the film. De Niro, like in Copland (1997), is seemingly on auto pilot. Forster is excellent as the burnt out Max, with a suitably gravely voice, and some good acting. The audience relates to his character the most. However, the audience just doesn't really relate (with the possible exception of Jackson and Grier) to the other characters. Most of them are flat and two dimensional. This is a shame, and all the characters have potential which is never fully developed. Considering the running time, a little bit more effort could have been based on reinforcing the characters. Also, Tarantino seems to be directing on autopilot. Apart from some split screen and a generally good final 30 minutes, the direction is plodding, and nowhere near as good as (sigh) Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction. There's a good soundtrack, however, and the dialogue can get good. Jackie Brown, overall, is good, entertaining, and never really gets boring. However, I guess I just came into the cinema expecting more, and the film never really delivers. Although disappointing compared to Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, on it's own, Jackie Brown is an above average crime thriller.

Copyright 1997 David Wilcock

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