Jackie Brown (1997)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
If you’re like me, you can’t get enough sassy funk. Okay, I can take it or leave it. But in Jackie Brown’s case, I’ll take it. In Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 suspenseful thriller, starring Pam Grier, Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson, a bunch of criminals, former criminals, and cops-turned-criminals fight for half a million dollars. Who’s getting played and who’s just a playa? That’s for you to find out. And I promise, that surprise isn’t revealed until almost all of 154 minutes are over.
De Niro and Jackson are in classic form. These aren’t their best performances, but they might be their most typical. Jackson’s the loudmouth gun trafficker that drops the n-word more times than Paula Deen. De Niro’s the subtle gangster type, an ex-con that never has much to say. Robert Forster…I’ve never even heard of him…was nominated for an Oscar for the role of a lonely bail bondsman. But it’s Pam Grier, known as much for a sweet afro in the ’70s as she is for this role, that really puts this movie away as a classic Tarantino crime-comedy. She’s a crafty flight attendant whose alliances are never truly known until the climax.
As far as Tarantino goes, “Jackie Brown” is pretty typical. With one exception: blood. There was hardly any at all. I think “Bambi” had more. If you know me, you know I like my cinematic blood splatter realistic. That’s why I never was too keen on Tarantino. But in “Jackie Brown,” he was able to keep an audience hooked with his overly-thorough dialogue, catchy soundtrack (with some Johnny Cash and a lot of the Delfonics), and gripping mystery. Bravo, Quentin. But then apparently he liked all that blood enough to revisit it in the 21st century. Oh well.
If you know me, you also know that I like to keep my reviews relative to the genre they’re in. For a target audience of suspense-lovers and Tarantino freaks, “Jackie Brown” is about as good as it gets. It’s not the best movie in the world, but if it wanted to be that it would have been a period drama with a billion-dollar budget. “Jackie Brown” isn’t for the masses, but if suspense and Tarantino appeal to you, it’ll be your cup of tea.