Jackie Brown (1997)

DVD Cover (Miramax 2-Disc Collector's Edition)
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Overall Rating 74%
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Ranked #425
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A flight attendant with a criminal past gets nabbed by the FBI for smuggling. Under pressure to become an informant against the drug dealer she works for, she must find a way to secure her future without getting killed. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: March 19, 2007
Quentin Tarantino. Samuel L. Jackson. Pam Grier. Put those three names together in one film, and honestly - does a film critic really need to say anything more about it other than "Instant classic"? Well, I would have said that had I reviewed this about ten years ago, but I'm sure you readers will find it in your hearts to forgive me for the slight delay.

Based on a novel by Elmore Leonard, the plot centers on two very distinct groups of people. On the one hand, we have arms-dealer Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson) and his fresh out of prison buddy Louis Gara (Robert De Niro). Ordell lives the good life: a house on the beach, a good-looking girlfriend in every major city (Bridget Fonda fills the void in this particular town), and he also has about half a million dollars sitting in a Mexican bank.

On the other hand, we have airline stewardess Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) who just so happens to help Ordell smuggle money in and out of the country. When she's busted by a pair of cops (Michael Keaton and Michael Bowen), she agrees to help them set up a sting operation to bring down Ordell in exchange for leniency with her case. However, her story changes when she talks to Ordell and tells him what's going on: this version of the story finds her helping him get all of his money into the country in one fell swoop while pulling a fast one on the cops in the process. Brown is a damned good liar though, so nobody never really knows who she's lying to and who is on the receiving end of the god-honest truth... except, maybe, for the bail bondsman (Robert Forster) that she's finding herself attracted to more and more as the days go by.

Quentin Tarantino is a hugely-overrated director. Now, I'm a fan of his work, don't get me wrong - but to hear some people tell it, the man is Christ reincarnated or something equally as silly. However, there's a damned good reason for this: the man, quite simply, knows how to make a movie. Just check out his resumé for confirmation of that. Although Quentin is overrated by many, Jackie Brown is quite the opposite: this is a hugely underrated film in the eyes of most, and in my view, it easily measures up to his other films and actually surpasses some of them.

I truly can't see why so many people (critics and fans alike) rank this as his worst film. Perhaps it's due to the fact that his trademark, over-the-top violence is kept to the bare minimum here, or maybe it's because the fast-paced action / thriller aspects were all but forgotten throughout the running time. Sure, those things are nice, but who goes to see a Quentin Tarantino film for gore and action? You watch these movies for the brilliant, flowing storylines as well as the top-notch dialogue sequences, and judging this movie based on those factors, it's as good as if not better than most of his other stuff.

If that wasn't enough for you, then how about that cast? We've got Pam Grier (still as hot as she was thirty years ago), Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, and Robert Forster in the leading roles, and each and every last one of them brought the proverbial goods to the set. The only performance that I wasn't utterly thrilled with was Michael Keaton's, and that was simply because I felt that he didn't get enough time to shine. Sure, his character didn't exactly need the extra scenes, but he was just that damned good in the role. Also be on the lookout for Grier's career-long nemesis Sid Haig in a cameo appearance as the judge who decides her fate, as well as an appearance by (and some damned good exchanges with) Chris Tucker.

Excellent, excellent film, and with the sole exception of Pulp Fiction, it also happens to be my personal favorite out of his handful of releases (no small task, let me assure you). 10/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 03/19/2007, 07:09 PM
Overall, my favorite Tarantino film. Explores so many themes and does so with a drama and sense of adventure rarely seen in mainstream motion pictures these days. Pam Grier and Robert Forster made kick ass comebacks, and Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton rocked it as well. 10/10.
grain of sand #2: grain of sand - added 03/20/2007, 03:17 PM
this one didn't have the over the top violence, but when deniro kills fonda I actually felt kind of uneasy.. she had a small part, but I think I got attached to her because of her cute little explaination of why its good to actually cough when you're smoking pot ha "it opens your bronchi" or something silly.. loved this movie though, definitely underrated.
Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #3: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 12/20/2007, 10:41 PM
Its underappreciation and lack of praise had made me shove it aside from viewing until my reading of this review. It is most definitely a flawless film.
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