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Tarantino's sleeper. An underrated gem of a movie.
Infofreak24 October 2002
Many people were disappointed with 'Jackie Brown' when it was first released as it didn't live up to their expectations created by the more flamboyant 'Reservoir Dogs' and 'Pulp Fiction'. I admit that I was one of those disappointed fans. But as the years have gone by I have come to appreciate this movie more and more, and if you deal with what it IS and not what you thought it was going to be, you'll see that it is an underrated gem of a movie. 'Jackie Brown' is much more character driven and leisurely plotted than Tarantino's previous two movies. I haven't read the Elmore Leonard novel on which it was based so I can't tell whether this was a conscious decision by Tarantino himself, or it's because of the source material, but it might be a stumbling block for those with MTV-style attention spans. 1970s crime movie buffs will find it much easier going. The big names in the cast like De Niro, Jackson and Fonda are all very good, but the real standout performances in this movie are by 70s blaxploitation icon Pam Grier ('Coffy', 'Foxy Brown', 'Black Mama White Mama',etc.etc.) and a revelatory one from Robert Forster. Forster back in the day showed plenty of promise in movies like 'Medium Cool' but quickly found himself stuck in b-grade exploitation movies like 'Vigilante' and 'Alligator'. Fun stuff, but hardly Oscar material. Max Cherry is the best role he has ever been given, and he is superb in it. The fascinating thing about 'Jackie Brown' for me is that Tarantino's critics accuse him of making shallow and violent self-consciously hip crime films, but the central story of this movie concerns an inter-racial Middle Aged romance, something I haven't seen done in a believable or realistic fashion by Hollywood before. By doing this so well Tarantino shows he has much more depth, and is a much more interesting and braver film maker than his more acclaimed contemporaries. 'Jackie Brown' is a fine movie that hopefully one day will get the kudos it deserves. Don't overlook this one just because it isn't 'Pulp Fiction The Next Generation'!
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Personally, I find it to be Quentin Tarantino's Masterpiece
pianoman90415 June 2008
Sometimes a movie requires more than one viewing. The first time I sat down to watch Jackie Brown, I wasn't so impressed. I didn't hate the movie, but I didn't love it either. I thought it was decent. The second time I watched it, I knew the plot already so I really got to indulge in the characters of the film. And thats exactly what the film is, it's a character piece.

Those of you who expect an energetic, stylized, violent, comic book-esque film like Pulp Fiction will not get that from this movie. Its a lot more tamed, and to say the least realistic. I love Pulp Fiction, its one of my all time favorite movies. But I doubt in the real world there would be two hit men in matching black and white suits. The scenarios of that movie, while fun and totally entertaining, aren't too realistic. Jackie Brown on the other hand has totally real characters that don't come off as too over the top.

All the actors in the movie are superb.The lead is played by actress Pam Grier who nails the role. Tarantino again shows you don't need an a-list actor to carry a movie. Grier plays Jackie Brown, an airline stuartess in her 40s. Samuel L. Jackson plays Ordell Robbie, a gun dealer who uses Jackie to bring him in money from Mexico. Robert DeNiro (in a smaller role for such a big actor) plays Louis, Ordell's friend who recent got out of jail. Bridget Fonda plays Melanie, a "blonde haired surfer girl" who lives with Ordell. Michael Keaton (my all time favorite actor)plays ATF agent Ray Nicollette who wants to take down Ordell. And Robert Forster plays Max Cherry, a bail bonds man. Without giving too much away, all of these characters in one way or another are all after $500,000 of Ordell's money. Every character in this movie is great and unique in their own way. But for me, Robert Forster steals the show. Max Cherry is without a doubt my favorite character in all of Quentin Tarantino's movies.

To some people, this movie is just a crime/heist movie. But to me there is something quite beautiful to this movie. After a few viewings of the film, you will notice that underneath it all, this movie is really about two people. Jackie Brown and Max Cherry. Two people who are middle aged, lonely, and tired of their dead end jobs. Two people that meet in a very unlikely way. Two people that together figure out a way to steal $500,000 and get away with it. Take this movie however you want it. But to me, thats the heart of the movie, and thats why the movie works so well.

In conclusion, Jackie Brown is not a graphic crime story like Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction that preceded it. Nor is it a stylized revenge saga like Kill Bill vol. 1 & 2 that followed it. Instead it is a stand alone film. A wonderfully acted character study. And for me, an absolute gem of a film. It's Quentin Tarantino's underrated MASTERPIECE.
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No Fancy Fireworks needed
Pluto-35 August 1998
Contrary to Pulp Fiction which had a very unusual editing and flashy situations, Jackie Brown focuses more on characters that are basically humans with very focused problems, for instance getting older which is an eminent theme tackled in the film. No one's evil in all this. They all have interestingly real personalities and I felt strangely comfortable watching them talk, eat, kill and argue with each other. Tarantino is an excellent storyteller and I wish I could write dialogues as interesting as his. The film flows with a slower pace than Pulp, with all it's many streched takes and lenghty scenes, but by doing so leaves us more time to grasp the characters with all their differences. A more mature Tarantino. Still loving what he does. And he said it himself before the film came out: "This one is at a lower volume then 'Pulp.' It's not an epic, it's not an opera. It's a character study."
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Less showy than Pulp, but a more mature story that is just as enjoyable
bob the moo1 February 2004
Jackie Brown is a 44 year old air hostess who also acts as a money carrier for her boss, gun dealer Ordell Robbie. When one of Ordell's other employee's is caught he is forced to kill him, however, before he can get to him the employee tells the police about Jackie and they pick her up. With Jackie facing jail or being killed by Ordell she strikes a deal with both the police and him to bring in a large stash of money. However to help her retirement she plans to play the game to her own ends.

Coming as a follow up to both Dogs and Pulp, this film was going to be the `greatest movie ever made' or it was going to be met with a critical response that seems to be a bit negative. It was the hype and hyperbole around anything baring the name Tarantino that perhaps was giving every film he did higher and higher standards to meet, it is wasn't Jackie Brown that was met in this way it would have been the next film, or the next one. However the reviews were mostly good, but it did get some unfair reviews from critics who expected this to continue the upward trend. In a way I believe that this film did show Tarantino's growth as a director.

Where Pulp Fiction was dizzying in it's style and pace, Jackie Brown is much more of a mature, balanced film that is satisfying in a more traditional sense that the design of Pulp. Developed from a Leonard novel, the plot is a solid crime thriller with a good plot that still gives room for Tarantino to do some time shifting as he reveals some key scenes from different perspectives to allow us to see the bigger picture. As a story it fills the rather generous running time pretty well and is enjoyable throughout.

The film is still full of Tarantinoisms for the fans - the heavy soundtrack, the pop culture references, the witty, slick dialogue. However where the film stands out is that the characters are actually better than in his previous films where they never really went beyond the story and dialogue. Here not only are they better but they also include well-written female parts! While some of the characters are as good as they need to be within the confines of the basic crime story, it is in Jackie and Max where Tarantino has grown up a bit - although in fairness this was an adaptation rather than his own script, but he still manages them better than some of his own thin characters.

Following the praise for Pulp and Tarantino's ability to rejuvenate careers, he must have had no problem cherry picking for this role. Grier gives a great performance and should be grateful for the role in an industry that generally ignores middle-aged women (not to mention black women!). The only thing surprising about her is how poorly she has taken this big lead role and used it to take her career on. Her performance embraces her age and uses it well, but it is Forster who gives the standout performance here. Not an actor many will be aware of apart from this film, he got an Oscar nomination for this and I think he deserved it. His performance is very low-key and quite moving - I think I will appreciate his work here more as I get older. Jackson does what is expected of him and has no real character, but his energy and skill are there to see. De Niro plays a little against type and is an interesting, but underused character. Fonda is really, really sexy and has some good lines while the rest of the cast do good work in small roles with people like Keaton, Tucker and Bowen in there.

Overall I enjoy this film and can understand why it will never be loved to the extent that Pulp was and is. However to me this is a more satisfying film with an enjoyable plot and a more traditional delivery. The development of actual good characters beyond snappy dialogue is what impressed me the most and it sadden me to see him regress about a decade into style without substance with Kill Bill Vol. One.
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Solid film, never a dull moment, great characters
rlac6622 October 2001
Although different than some of Tarantino's more violent precursors, such as "Reservoir Dogs", "Pulp Fiction" and "True Romance" this is an excellent film. Where it lacks in violence however, the film makes up for in language earning it an "R" rating in the US. In certain scenes, I thought it Tarantino went to far with the explicit language and it seemed awkward and artificial, but that does not cast a shadow of over what I thought was an otherwise fantastic film. The editing and directing is excellent. There is good character development of the main characters, yet there is not one scene where the movie drags throughout its entire 150 minutes. I couldn't tear myself away from this movie until the very end.

Especially enjoyable is the performance by Robert Forster whose character I thought was outstanding. Max Cherry, played by Forster, is a tempered bail bondsman who cautiously handles his unscrupulous clients. One day he is approached by Ordell Robbie, played by Samuel L. Jackson, to post a bond for Jackie Brown, a middle aged flight attendant for a low cost airline who gets caught smuggling Ordell's fortune in Mexico into the US. The initial meeting between Jackie and Max sets up a relationship between these two characters on both professional and personal level and that changes Max from a methodical and business man to almost an innocent young boy with a crush. The last scene in the movie between these two characters is absolutely brilliant.

I highly recommend this film and it's fun to watch Tarantino mature as a director. The little extras littered throughout the film such as "Chick with Guns", the fabulous locations such as the Cockatoo Inn, and the excellent characters make this film well worth a view.
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Antagonisten29 October 2004
Being a huge fan of Tarantinos earlier efforts Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction expectations were of course high. Especially since Jackie Brown is based on the Elmore Leonard novel "Rum Punch". And Elmore Leonards stories usually fit the big screen very well, they are actually one of the rare occasions where i usually prefer the film to the novel.

Tarantino sets a different mood here compared to the more frantic and violent Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. This is more of a slow crime story that focuses more on being cool than being shocking. I think this movie works very well despite the slow pace which seems to put a lot of people off. Mainly i think it works because the actors are all giving it their best (the casting is also excellent) while Tarantino seems to handle the whole story more gently than in Pulp Fiction. He doesn't stress it, he doesn't run the risk of over-doing the "cool" parts. The end result is enjoyable but a lot more somber than what you're used to from Tarantino.

All in all i feel this movie is underrated. It's enjoyable, well made and stylish. Recommended to those not demanding all movies to head on at breakneck speed. I rate it 7/10.
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Wtg Q...
fsalvemini19 July 2005
When I first heard the name of Q's next movie, Jackie Brown, I figured this would be a remake of a 70's Pam Grier blaxploitation flick (i.e- Foxy Brown). I quickly learned that this was actually an ode to the legendary Pam Grier! Loaded with possibly the best and deepest cast since True Romance, and very similar in many ways, this movie delivers on all levels. Like T.R., a combination of road trip movie (this time airborne), gangsters, comedy, druggy/pimp story, and love story molds itself into a great story. A fantastic revival for Robert Forster- who'd never been awarded the shot he deserved, as Max Cherry, our star and hero of this film. Robert's been historically type cast as a gumshoe cop in numerous roles- Mulholland Drive, South Beach, Rear Window, Me, Myself Irene, but really breaks out in this opportunity to portray a character with actual personality,integrity, wit, and passions. Hail to Robert! Fantastic deliveries from Michael Keaton who revives the Ray Nicolette character seen in Out of Sight, Bridget Fonda's transformation as the stoner surfer girl, DeNiro as the shifty ex-con, Samuel J as the untrustworthy Ordell, and most impressively the one scene delivery of Chris Tucker- with the famous improvised line 'You sneak up on a Nigga with this sh#t!'... The screen translation of Elmore Leonard's Florida based Rum Punch is very interesting- from the blonde bimboish Jackie Burke, to the sexy 40ish black Jackie Brown, worked very nicely. Q hits another home run, as expected!
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Quentin strikes again.
MovieAddict20162 April 2004
Where does a director go after making two colossal worldwide hits?

"Reservoir Dogs" (1992) and "Pulp Fiction" (1994) were two of the greatest movies ever made, and they launched director Quentin Tarantino into the realm of Mainstream Hollywood Director. Most of the time, a director faced with this reality will sink into a slew of really bad movies, but so far Tarantino has been either extremely lucky or extremely talented - his third feature film, although lacking in the brutality of its predecessors, contains just as much wit. Based upon the Elmore Leonard novel "Rum Punch," it's packed with the clever dialogue that Leonard is known for in his writing. It's also got a good amount of style, too. It's not a typical Tarantino movie, but is that necessarily a bad thing? In this particular instance, no.

Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a flight stewardess forced into running jobs for Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson), a ruthless criminal who has no respect for life - or death, for that matter. However, during one of her smuggling efforts, a couple of FBI Agents (including Michael Keaton) nab her and offer her a deal: If she helps them get Ordell, she will be let free from custody. The Feds do not know who Ordell is, but they know he exists, and that is where Jackie comes in. She reluctantly agrees to participate in their sting operation, but all is not what it seems. And when $500,000 dollars disappears from his retirement fund, Ordell stops, thinks, and arrives upon the conclusion that we all anticipate with glee: Jackie Brown did it.

His partner in crime, Louis (the wonderful Robert De Niro), also decides to double-cross Ordell, with the help of a sexy blonde ditz named Melanie (Bridget Fonda), The movie's twisting plot line and intersecting story lines is very reminiscent of "Pulp Fiction," and De Niro's underrated performance is a real stand-out. The movie's quite well made and enjoyable.

Don't misinterpret what I'm saying. This is no "Reservoir Dogs," nor does it want to be. It's not in the same vein as Tarantino's other movies, at least not at a superficial level. However, it is extremely entertaining, helped along by a great cast and a terrific script. The only difference here is that Tarantino did not come up with everything by himself. He adapted the screenplay from another source, something he usually doesn't do. But there's also a little-known fact that Roger Avary co-wrote some of "Dogs" and "Fiction" with Tarantino, as well as sparked the idea for some of his films. Here, Quentin adapts Leonard's novel and does justice. People who say it isn't as good as his other movies because it's recycled obviously don't know what they're talking about.

Tarantino started out as a video store clerk, and is the movie buff's filmmaker. Not only does Tarantino share a deep passion for films, but he also knows what most of the real movie enthusiasts want. He has yet to disappoint me with any of his directorial efforts. His own life story would make an interesting movie, and indeed it did with "True Romance," partially based on Tarantino's own self-image of himself. (A geek working at a comic book store falls in love and goes off of an adventure into a new realm -- in Tarantino's own case, it was film-making. For Clarence, from "True Romance," it was drugs and murder.)

Tarantino has a flair for raw energy in all of his films, and "Jackie Brown" is no exception. The movie is bursting at its edges, packed with wild antics and the occasional fierce brutality. The movie was criticized by Tarantino's die-hard fans for being too different from his other films. However, the mistake of many directors is to repeat the same formulas over and over again. One must at least give Tarantino credit for trying new things in each of his films. If anything, the only thing that Tarantino likes to insert into all his films is a large source of energy. And is that a bad thing?

4.5/5 stars.
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Pam Grier!
tnrcooper17 December 2013
What a film! Amazing ensemble, serpentine plot, all based on an Elmore Leonard novel. I enjoyed the film when it first came out but I didn't appreciate its complexity and the caliber of its acting as I did when I saw it the other day.

A tired airline stewardess (Pam Grier as the eponymous character) sees a slim window through which she could escape to a more leisurely life. However, she will have to steal money from a nasty small-time arms dealer and convince the Feds she is trying to help them get the dealer. Can she make it work? On her side is bail bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster) who, we think, might want to squeeze out that window with her.

However, she has to outwit the venal Ordell Robbie (Sam Jackson) who we see is not the nicest guy in the world. Robbie is assisted by the dim-witted pothead ex-con Louis (Robert DeNiro) and his possibly-smarter-than-she-looks snow bunny Melanie (Bridge Fonda).

On the other is the law, in the person of Mark Dargus (Michael Bowen) and Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton). She has to convince the Feds she is complying with the terms of her agreement with them and she has to convince Ordell that she is not scamming him. It's a hell of a balance. Can she do it?

Great music, typically a-bit-too-clever dialogue as one might expect from Tarantino. Tarantino features LA's grittiness in a way that those of us Angelenos who know that the Southland isn't all Beverly Hills and Hollywood really appreciate. The acting is fantastic. You've never seen Robert DeNiro act like this. He's dopey with a lot of repressed anger. DeNiro gets the essence of a conflicted ex-con. Robert Forster is competent and confident. The chemistry he has with Grier is smoldering. Sam Jackson eats up the screen in his scenes. It's like shooting fish in a barrel for him.

Pam Grier is phenomenal as Jackie Brown. You don't know just how honest Jackie is but you have sympathy for her from the get-go. Grier makes her gorgeous, smart, hard-working, sexy, confident, and diligent. It really is a shame that she hasn't had another role even APPROACHING one of this richness. It truly is a great role though and Pam Grier delivers in spades.
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Tarantino sees off the backlash
Paranoid_Android8 April 2000
Quentin Tarantino is clearly finding it difficult to follow the phenomenal success of "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction", which made him the hottest writer-director of his generation. In the six years since then this is the only time that he has returned to the directors chair. "Jackie Brown" - his "difficult third film" - seems to be his response to criticism of his first two films that he could only make movies about other movies, but not real life. He cleverly anticipates the backlash by adapting a tightly plotted, character driven Elmore Leonard novel, still set in his familiar world of LA low-lives, but keeping to a minimum his trademark comic-book violence and pop-culture references, while emphasising the novels more mature themes - such as ageing and the feeling of time running out for the middle-aged characters. The result is a slick, interesting, if slightly draggy thriller, which ultimately lacks the freshness and audaciousness of those earlier films.

Tarantino still has his maverick streak though, as displayed in his trusting of Pam Grier to carry the entire movie. The casting of a middle-aged black actress with no box-office clout in the lead role can't have been easy in an industry notorious for it's scant regard for actresses after they reach 30. You can bet that the studios would have at least insisted on the safety of a Sharon Stone or a Demi Moore. But Tarantino, as he did when casting Travolta, stuck to his gut-instinct, and once again it proved an inspired choice. Grier, bringing with her the memories of her 70's blackploitation movies, gives a convincingly tough, wise and sympathetic performance.

Actors love to work with Tarantino because the roles he gives them will be invariably jucier than usual. That is once again the case here, although the casting isn't quite as inspired as it was in "Dogs" or "Pulp" (or "True Romance"). Samuel L. Jackson is reliably good - if hardly stretched - as an unscrupulous hustler who is not as smart as he thinks he is, and Bridget Fonda has fun as his conniving beach babe girlfriend. Robert Forster jumps at the chance to play a role with depth after years in made-for-tv hell. Robert De Niro though, despite providing some amusing moments, is disappointingly wasted as Jackson's dim-witted partner.

At times this feels like just another thriller, but every now and then Tarantino reminds you what all the fuss was about. Jackson's brutal (off-screen) dispatching of Chris Tucker in the boot of a car, as the camera slowly cranes up into the sky, is masterfully conceived and a scene, which is subtly built up to, involving a teasing Fonda and a p*****-off De Niro is as unexpected and as shocking as anything Tarantino has done before. By refusing to make a Pulp Fiction 2, Tarantino may have missed out on some easy money, but this film has enough to suggest that he will be more than just a flash in the pan.
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A Great Heist Film That Is Currently Under-Appreciated
donuthaters127 January 2014
I see Tarantino's three films in the 90's, not including Four Rooms, as a crime trilogy of sorts, and Jackie Brown is the one that is considered to be the most underrated or by others as the weakest of Tarantino's catalog. I never really had high hopes for this film, because for one it just doesn't have that wit and charm that Pulp Fiction has or the unique style that was demonstrated with Reservoir Dogs. I have now seen this film a couple of times and even from my first viewing I thought this film was great and got even better the subsequent times I came around to it.

Jackie Brown is definitely a left turn from Tarantino's films as it wasn't an original idea but rather he adapted Elmore Leonard's novel, other notable work include Out Of Sight and 3:10 To Yuma. This choice of not adapting an original story is strange but it doesn't matter anymore after you have seen it, because it's still an entertaining film. I haven't read the source material but I have read reports that this film adapts the novel accurately and that Leonard's novel is filled with dialogue. This film indeed has that element, which works in favor of Tarantino as he has a complete understanding of how to make dialogue look and sound interesting. This may be dismissed by many due to the fact that it lacks the style and charm that was found on his previous two films, the film instead takes a conventional approach to it's storytelling but personally this isn't really an issue for me as the story is still entertaining to watch unfold and Tarantino doesn't completely lose his touch with this film. True, the film relies on the story in developing it's characters rather than having them spill out words that collectively will shape their personalities, but Tarantino's dialogue and style isn't the star of the film but rather the motivations and intentions of the characters.

Looking at Quentin Tarantino's career, his films differ from one another and the director is starting to walk the same lines as Kubrick in not repeating oneself. Jackie Brown is the director's heist film and he has achieved in not grounding the film on the same style and level as the other heist films it is now compared to. The film may not scream out Tarantino but it does at the very least experiment. The heist itself was a genius in execution, how difficult it must be to have us see the same heist and not feel repetitive and tiresome. There are also moments in the film where it uses a split screen showing two moments at the same time, and the film also has unusual choices of transitions. This is the first time we get to see Tarantino's ability to let the audience gain introspection of the characters.

In order to get that dark and gritty style that the film needed, Tarantino opted for a change in cinematographer and hired Guillermo Navarro. Navarro is now known as a frequent collaborator with Guillermo Del Toro and those films usually have this murky black tone to it and the credit goes to Navarro's photography. This is also one of the main reasons that it doesn't have that look that is prevalent on the director's previous two films. Jackie Brown's look is definitely one of the reasons that the film has personality and it does allow us to perceive the story with seriousness that it demands. The film's dark tone does lose that humor that Tarantino was known for but that aspect isn't truly necessary here to engage the audience, though there are moments where it does get you laughing.

Again, Tarantino stays away from the traditional film score and fills the film up with musical nuggets that works perfectly with the scene. The previous two films touches on tracks within the Rock N' Roll and Pop genre, while here he chooses tracks within R&B genre. These tracks have so much soul in them and it does in a way throwback to the classic films that Pam Grier was in. Though I do wonder if the film would be improved using an original score, even if it retains that quality that the soundtracks give but I guess we'll never know.

The film's cast includes a return of Samuel L. Jackson and a number of stars who are known to have lost their touch, in particular Pam Grier. Honestly, I have yet to see a film that Grier is in but after this film, it proves that she has acting chops and that she brings great personality in a role that it's hard to not keep your eyes off her. Grier should have been nominated for Best Leading Actress at the Oscars that year but that is just my personal opinion. The rest of the cast were great with notable stand outs like Robert Forster and Bridget Fonda. Forster plays it more casually but not being near the borderline of laziness, while Fonda brings the sex to the role and she was able to bring the immaturity and bratiness that the role needed. Keaton and De Niro are a bit underused and their characters doesn't really have more to them that I could grasp on to. Jackson on the other hand still brings his usual style that was also found on Pulp Fiction but he changes it enough that it doesn't feel like he is repeating himself.

Jackie Brown is an entertaining crime-heist film that definitely needs much more attention. I personally felt that this film is much stronger than Reservoir Dogs but it doesn't capture the greatness that Pulp Fiction was able to give off, regardless of it's stellar cast, amazing music, excellent cinematography, and a story that had me locked on to until the end of the film.
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Tarantino's best film, a tremendously entertaining thriller
ametaphysicalshark24 July 2008
Quentin Tarantino takes on Elmore Leonard? At first look not such a good idea but coming to "Jackie Brown" several years after its more or less lukewarm initial reception (released after so-called masterpiece "Reservoir Dogs" and the inventive and infectious "Pulp Fiction", "Jackie Brown" was seen as something of a disappointment) and being able to assess it without putting in context of Tarantino's filmography, "Jackie Brown" is surprising.

It is, without question, Tarantino's most mature and complete work to date as a director. Mature in the sense that Tarantino here is not preoccupied with 'homages', references, style (not too much, at least), or indulging himself in his fantasies. Tarantino, for once, is primarily a storyteller, and the approach works stunningly well. "Jackie Brown" is a fantastically entertaining crime thriller that not only does justice to Leonard's source material, but in some senses improves on it (admittedly, the novel this is based on is hardly his best work). The cast is a dream for this sort of movie, and contains what is as of 2008 Robert De Niro's last truly memorable performance, the music fits perfectly, the atmosphere created is the sort you can lose yourself in for the running time of the film (which feels significantly shorter than it is), and the screenplay, with its witty exchanges, striking characters, and plentiful plot twists, keeps the viewer more than entertained. This is a truly engaging film.

Tarantino movies do it for me. I don't think he's one of the greatest directors of all time or anything, but he is a talented director with the capacity to make tremendously entertaining films. While many would prefer him to do films like "Kill Bill" I think "Jackie Brown" is a far better representation of his talent. He's certainly not completely out of his element here, there's plenty of 70's retro cool in this film, but thankfully it is contained and kept from going overboard.

Expect another "Pulp Fiction" and disappointment is an understandable reaction, but if you go into this with an open mind and expect nothing in particular you might just find that "Jackie Brown" is not only Tarantino's best but one of the most entertaining films of the 90's.

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Tarantino grows up
paul2001sw-110 January 2005
Quentin Tarantino follow up to the hysterical response generated by his suitably hysterical first two movies was 'Jackie Brown', an altogether more restrained film that garnered a somewhat more restrained set of reviews. Perhaps the relative lack of impact made by this film explains his subsequent return to extremes with 'Kill Bill'. But in some ways this is a shame, as there's a lot to enjoy in 'Jackie Brown', particularly in the universally first rate performances the director manages to get out of his distinguished cast. Robert Forster is wise and weary as a middle-aged bail bondsman, Samuel L. Jackson plays a criminal with all of the menace and none of the charm of his character in 'Pulp Fiction', while Bridget Fonda and a (cast against type) Robert de Niro are entertaining as a pair of useless crack-heads. Best of all is former blaxploitation star Pam Grier in the title role, combining human warmth and coolness under fire with considerable charm. The generic Ellmore Leanard plot is ultimately not quite as clever as it promises to be, and as as ever with Tarantino, both tone and taste are sometimes questionable: the early sequence 'Women Who Love Guns' is very funny, but it's quite unclear whether it's intended as satire or celebration. Nonetheless, once one adds in a typically splendid soundtrack, everything adds up to a movie far above the average crime thriller, and for all the breathtaking invention of his other movies, it's enough to make one wish that Tarantino didn't usually feel the need to try so very hard.
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Decent, but don't expect a Pulp Fiction sequel
FilmOtaku6 August 2005
"Jackie Brown", the 1997 film starring Pam Grier as the title character, a flight attendant who smuggles cash into the country for a shady associate, Ordell (Jackson) is the third film directed by Quentin Tarantino. When Jackie is tagged by the feds, (played by Keaton and Michael Bowen) she is willing to give up Ordell because she has a plan of her own. Meanwhile, Ordell has proved himself to be a pretty nasty character, killing associates without even a hint of betrayal, so to say that Jackie is walking a tightrope is an understatement. Rounding out the cast is Robert Forster as Max Cherry, Jackie's bail bondsman hired by Ordell when Jackie is initially arrested by the feds, and eventual love interest, Robert DeNiro as Louis, an associate of Ordell's who is fresh out of jail and about to buy in on one of Ordell's gun selling schemes and Bridget Fonda as Melanie, one of Ordell's women, and object of both fascination and irritation for Louis.

"Jackie Brown" features many "Tarantinoisms" that we have come to expect from his films; slick cinematography, a soundtrack that is perfect for the film (in this case, 1970's R&B) a rich cast of eccentric characters, a solid amount of violence and even more profanity. If there was a Tarantino film that DIDN'T include these elements, I would be disappointed. As John Travolta was dug up to star in "Pulp Fiction", Tarantino resurrects two 1970's actors, Robert Forster and Pam Grier, and both prove once again that there are few contemporary directors around who have better gut instincts and an eye for casting than he. Although there could have been many other bigger name, safer choices that would have jumped to be in Tarantino's perceived follow-up to "Fiction", the film geek once again proves that he knows best. Grier is absolutely luminous, and looks at least 10 years younger than her actual age. Better than that, she is sexy, spunky and knows what she wants. The supporting cast is also excellent, and while it's definitely film geeky to admit it, like the actors who appear in the ensemble films of Paul Thomas Anderson or Wes Anderson, I always admire the cast of Tarantino's film because while they may not have a large or prestigious role in the film, they are always juicy characters that are sometimes played against type. I loved seeing Michael Keaton as a hard-faced, leather jacket clad fed, and Robert DeNiro, who can chew scenery better than a lot is fantastic as the quiet, shlubby and slobby sidekick.

Anyone who approached "Jackie Brown" looking for a Pulp Fiction sequel was probably either somewhat disappointed or, like me, encouraged that Tarantino can not only do flashy, but can spin a good story as well. And perhaps even more importantly, he wasn't a two-trick pony with the inspired films "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs". While I have mixed feelings about Tarantino the man, (I am endeared to his almost autistic-knowledge of film and his inherent film geekiness, but I am both fascinated and repelled by his almost constant hysteria and, particularly in the infancy of his fame, his inability to turn down an acting job or engage in ceaseless self-promotion) I certainly count him among my favorite directors and anytime he releases a film, it's an event. Before seeing his latest releases, "Kill Bill Vol. 1 & Vol. 2" I lamented that he possibly took too much time off between projects, but after seeing "Vol. 1" I quickly reconsidered, saying that if he is going to consistently put out superior product, he can take as much time as he wants.

And that is why I look at "Jackie Brown", a film that wasn't quite as stellar or lauded as his others with a certain amount of fondness, because it is a great piece of work, without all of the flash, bells and whistles of its predecessor. Knowing that a "Pulp Fiction 2" would be an instant hit, Tarantino decided to go in a different direction, and it's that willingness to take a chance, even if it's not a huge leap, that makes me appreciate it that much more. It's probably my least favorite Tarantino film, but even my least favorite Tarantino film garners a better rating than 80% of contemporary cinema. Even Tarantino fans that I know let this film go under their radar, so if you are in the same boat, seek this one out; it is well worth it. 7/10 --Shelly
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One of my favorite Tarantino movies
utgard1429 October 2015
Jackie Brown is considered by many (myself included) to be one of Quentin Tarantino's best films and also one of his most under-appreciated. There's love for it but it isn't met with the same reverence as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, or the same enthusiasm as his genre homages that followed. But it should be more widely praised as it's an exceptional movie. The direction is wonderful, the soundtrack is fun, and the script is full of memorable dialogue, as you would expect from Tarantino. The cast is terrific, led by '70s legend Pam Grier in her "comeback" role and Robert Forster in an understated performance that deservedly earned him an Oscar nomination. Every scene with Grier and Forster, separately or together, is a treat. As fun as Sam Jackson is, these two are what hold the film together and make it so enjoyable to watch over and over. For his part, Jackson does what you expect him to do. He's foul-mouthed and funny but still very menacing when he needs to be. Robert DeNiro and Bridget Fonda both offer amusing support. Chris Tucker has a brief but funny appearance. The movie has a lot of humor. That's one of the main things that makes it so enjoyable to watch over and over. It's a great film that probably holds more appeal to non-Tarantino fans than most of his movies do.
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Tarantino's best work in my opinion.
carbuff11 May 2015
I saw this a long, long time ago and another watching has just confirmed my viewpoint. I'm going to risk being a total heretic here, but I think that this is really Tarantino's best film ever (and, yes, that includes Pulp Fiction).

First, there is violence in the film, but it is not a nonstop bloodbath, which turns me off.

Second it has a very tight plot with some unexpected twists.

Finally, all of the actors without exception give really strong performances.

A really well-executed story which doesn't seem nearly as long as it is because it just keeps moving along.
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The Sting
claudio_carvalho21 April 2014
The middle age stewardess Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) smuggles money from Mexico to Los Angeles for the arms dealer Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson). When she gets caught by the agents Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) and Mark Dargus (Michael Bowen) with ten thousand dollars and cocaine in her purse, they propose a deal to her to help them to arrest Ordell in exchange of her freedom. Meanwhile Ordell asks the fifty-six year-old Max Cherry (Robert Forster), who runs a bail bond business, to release Jackie Brown with the intention of eliminating her. Jackie suspects of Ordell's intention and plots a complicate confidence game with Max to steal half a million dollar from Ordell.

"Jackie Brown" is another great movie by Quentin Tarantino. The story of a sophisticated swindle shows the return of Pam Grier to a lead role and Robert Forster in an important role. The scene in the department store is original, with different perspectives of the same event. However there is a hole since it seems that there is no investigation with the seller but the marked bills. Otherwise she would tell that Jackie Brown had found a bad with towels in the fitting room. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Jackie Brown"
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One of the Best Movies ever made
albrechtcm28 November 2018
I've never been a big fan of Mr. Tarantino's movies, but when I viewed Jackie Brown I was smitten. I've been watching movies since talkies were in their infancy, through all the westerns and detective movies that kids like to "grown up" films, and I believe I've seen most of the best ones. But Jackie Brown is a film that has it all. Adapted from the Elmore Leonard novel, Mr. Tarantino has developed it into a sparkling tale featuring characters that are at once likeable and detestable. I don't want to go into the plot because it may reveal too much, and I'd rather talk about the characters. Samuel L. Jackson as Ordell Robbie is a casual, fun-loving guy who deals in illegal arms. He's all that but at the same time as ruthless as any mobster we've ever seen on the screen. Bridget Fonda is perfect as Melanie, an addicted bit of eye-candy who lounges about the house keeping Mr. Jackson company and doing little things such as answer the phone or bring him a drink. Robert De Niro in one of his finest performances is dull ex-con Louis Gara. He's just out of prison. Mr. Jackson allows to stay with him for a while mostly for the extra company. Mr. De Niro doesn't have to say or do much to show us he's dull, possible has a fried brain from drugs. It shows in his eyes. They're dull and we know he's now quite all here. What we don't at first know is that he has a very short fuse. That's probably why he was in prison. Tiny Lister doesn't actually do much. He finds people for Max Cherry. If we skipped bail we wouldn't want him to come after us. We can see in his posture that he's serious. Robert Forster is Max Cherry, a bail bondsman who's tired, getting old and just wants to retire. But when the phone rings, he's all business. Michael Keaton stands out as a jaunty agent who's out to get Mr. Jackson but the real star that puts this film over the top is Pam Grier. She's Jackie Brown, a middle-aged single woman working for a second-rate airline. She just wants to get enough money together for the future. Flying out of the country enables her to pick up gun money to bring to Mr. Jackson. Everyone in this ensemble cast is so perfect and some of the scenes are at once a jolt, yet at the same time inevitable, that one viewing is simply not enough. Nor are two. This is an amazing of artful direction.
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Totally Unique
generationofswine15 October 2016
It's based on "Rum Punch," a novel by Elmore Leonard and for those readers among us, that is a very familiar name. Leonard has a way with dialogue as much as he has a writing style with some of the most irritating transitions in modern pop literature.

But he also has a tendency to spin unique plot webs that you never really see from any other writer.

Most of the time it is the mundane tried and true "Cop and the witness against the bad guy, serial killer, mafia boss...enter cliché here" motif that you've seen in a million other movies. Elmore always takes it a step further for the sake of originality.

Instead of the same old thing you have the Bail bondsman and the middle-aged Stewardess against two corrupt ATF agents and an arms dealer with delusions of grandeur.

What could be better? You have the pairing of Leonard and Tarantino, two masters of dialogue, two masters of entertaining plot lines that come together to give you a little gem of a film that you will never see the like.
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Like Pulp Fiction, a story with clever dialogue and character development
TOMNEL2 July 2005
Jackie Brown-1997-Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forester, Robert Deniro, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Michael Bowen, Chris Tucker, Tiny Lister, Aimmie Graham and Sid Haig.

I'll go over the plot and then review it. Ordell Robbie(Jackson) is an illegal arms seller. One of his aquaintences Beaumont Livingston(Tucker) was put in jail for carrying a machine gun that he bought from Ordell. Ordell goes to Max Cherry (Forester) and gets a 10,000 dollar bond to get Beaumont out of jail. After getting him out, Ordell pays Beaumont a visit and kills him.

Later.....while walking in the airport parking lot from her job as a stewardess, Jackie Brown(Grier) is stopped by two FBI agents Mark Dargas(Bowen) and Ray Nicholette(Keaton). They check her bags and we soon figure out that Beaumont told everything to get out of going to jail. Jackie is Ordell's money runner for the guns he sells. Unfortunately, in the money bag for him, the buyer had slipped in some cocaine for Ordell and Jackie goes to jail. Ordell goes back to Max and has him move the 10,000 dollars from Beaumont to Jackie. Max drives her to her house and is beginning to fall for her. Ordell goes to Jackies house to try to kill her, but Jackie stole Max's gun and protects herself. This all spirals into fooling Ordell out of 40,000 dollars.

My review: 9 out of 10. Robert Deniro and Bridget Fonda were excellent together as Ordell's friend and girlfriend. Keaton has a gem role that's small but important. Grier and Forester are in their best roles ever and Jackson is good as always. This movie is not fast paced but has so much interesting dialogue that makes up for it. Tarantino knew what he was doing.

R for language, some brief bloody violence, drug content and a brief scene of sexuality(between Deniro and Fonda)
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Tarantino + Leonard = Dynamic Duo
george.schmidt10 April 2003
JACKIE BROWN (1997) ***1/2 Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Chris Tucker, Tiny Lister. A marriage made in heaven: Elmore Leonard and Quentin Tarantino. Excellent adaptation of Leonard's `Rum Punch' with Grier cast as the eponumous character, an airline stewardess caught between a rock and a hard place when she's pinched for drug possession after a cash pick up for arms dealer Jackson. Double crosses aplenty - both the rich characterizations and screenplay crackles with equally good acting particularly ‘70s survivors Grier and Forster (Best Supporting Actor nominee) the latter the epitome of understated acting. Great fun and leisurely paced to the twisting uncompromising climax. De Niro getting baked on weed with Fonda is one for the film vault.
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Ultimately, a bit boring, don't you think?
theVHSrocks14 March 2007
This film has a great start and a very memorable opening sequence. Our main character is on an airport track and is going forward on a conveyor belt set to a great tune. Fantastic use of the camera and a great song to go along with it, but then once you get to the movie, beyond the stylized and interesting opening, the film starts to slow down and goes on for 2 1/2 it didn't need to.

The thing that defines the film from Tarantino's other work is that is not his own creation (or his own ripoff of someone else's creation) but a legitimate adaption of a novel. Tarantino's style was never that conventional and when you see him working within conventional cofines, which is sort of what this is, despite being a vibrant-feeling piece, his whole style just doesn't work and he can't acomodate proper pacing. Tarantino's style is suited to fast-pased thrillers or just things told of out of sequence. When he tells a character-driven crime story in a rather linear matter, his very superfluous direction and writing ends up chugging the whole thing down, when it should be either speeding the thing up or directing more so its focus. The opening is more in line with his type of films, but once it gets into relationships and more complex elements of story and character, the thing just kind of drags.

It's got so much good in it, with great acting and great dialouge, but Tarantino just doesn't pace it right cause he can't handle a story of this type and the movie ends up feeling a bit boring, by the time you're finished. Still, though, it's got so much good in it, that it's not necessarily a bad way to spend an afternoon but maybe there'll be a point, where you wish it were it over, when there's probably still a good amount to go.
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Solid film, brilliant script
xTapoutx8 June 2006
Once again, Quentin Tarantino proves why he is arguably the best screen writer in Hollywood. Although the story behind Jackie Brown was adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel, Tarantino uses the already existing characters to his advantage, capitalizing on their traits to and personalities to spew forth Tarnatino-like dialogue. This is the type of crime film that should please any fan of the genre: it's very detailed, possesses excellent dialogue, and has an intricate plot that makes sitting through the 2 1/2 hr. film well worth the wait. Jackie Brown is a gritty, straightforward film that packs a punch and is highly recommended.
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Spikeopath7 February 2016
Coming as it did after critical darlings Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, it's perhaps not surprising that Quentin Tarantino's next film failed to - at the time - scale those giddy heights. Yet on reflection these days, when viewing Tarantino's career nearly twenty years later, it's one of his tightest works.

Working from master pulper Elmore Leonard's novel "Rum Punch", Tarantino had a concrete base from which to build on, which he does with aplomb. Cleaving close to the spirit of Leonard, Jackie Brown is rich with glorious chatter, each conversation either pings with a biting hard ass edge, or alternatively deconstructing the vagaries of the human condition.

Oh for sure Jackie Brown is talky, but nothing is ever twee or pointless, it's a film that pays rich rewards to those prepared to grasp the characters on show, to be aware that all is building towards the final third. It's then here where the story brings about its stings, with a complex operation cloaked in double crosses and evasive captures, of violence and more...

There's a wonderful portion of the story that sees Tarantino play the same sequence out from different character perspectives, but it's not indulgent. Tarantino reins himself in, not letting stylisations detract from the characters we are so heavily involved with. His other triumph is bringing Pam Grier and Robert Forster to the fore, who both deliver terrific performances. It's through these pair, with their deft characterisations, where Jackie Brown is most poignant and purposeful.

Is Jackie Brown undervalued in Tarantino's armoury? Perhaps it is? For it's ageless, holding up as a piece of intelligent work of note, and well worth revisiting by anyone who hasn't seen it since it was first released. 9/10
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"Didn't I blow your mind this time?"
Steffi_P20 February 2012
These days, when a director becomes a household name, there's a pressure on them to live up to their established reputation. If the formula changes the fans don't take it well. This is at least partly thanks to the auteur theory, which tends to value a director's work on its consistency rather than the actual quality of each movie. After his revolutionary hit Pulp Fiction, his follow-up Jackie Brown was not exactly a flop, but its reception among critiques, awards ceremonies and the general chitchat of Tarantino aficionados was somewhat lukewarm compared to the raging success of Pulp Fiction. What was wrong?

Jackie Brown differs from previous Tarantino projects in that it is adapted from a novel, rather than being an original screenplay straight from the director's brain (albeit filtered through his many cinematic influences). It contains rather less of the dialogue-for-dialogue's sake that was so integral to the appeal of Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, so no "Royale with Cheese" business here. It still has plenty of cracking dialogue in pursuit of plot though, and scenes such as Lewis trying to explain what went wrong with the switch are glowing examples of Tarantino's black humour. Overall it's a finely constructed thing, a nod towards the lovers-in-crime sub-genre of film noir as much as it is a stylistic homage to blaxploitation. And perhaps it's those romantic undertones and the slightly more low-key violence that put off many of the less broadminded Tarantino admirers.

Always something of a minimalist behind the camera, Tarantino's visual style here is at its most simple. Like a Sergio Leone picture, every scene basically boils down to a stand-off between two characters. Tarantino mostly eschews camera movement, just giving us stripped-down shots of people glaring at each other. Of course some may miss the more flamboyant touches that could be seen in his earlier movies, but for the sake of story and character, he is better without them. Special mention must be made of the music in Jackie Brown. Tarantino is of course known for his use of popular music soundtracks, but here it is more apt and co-ordinated than ever. The opening sequence is perfectly timed to "Across 110th Street", the aching melody and lyrics setting the tone of the whole movie as Pam Grier strides along to the beat. At other times the soundtrack is even witty, as when Robert Forster steps out of the changing room. Tarantino should try making a musical one day. It'd be amazing.

The simplicity of Tarantino's approach has given more prominence to the cast. Blaxploitation star Pam Grier here gets her most significant role in years, slotting into Tarantino-world with ease and confidence. She has a lot of silences – her refusal to answer when she's asked if the envelope can be searched, the long close-up of her while Michael Bowen interrogates her offscreen – but she constantly acts through them, subtle reactions flickering across her face. Crucially she has the necessary strength of character to make us believe she would stand up to cops and gangsters. Other honourable mentions must also go to Robert De Niro, bringing presence to his small part, and his unlikely but fruitful pairing with Bridget Fonda, who matches him for comical delivery.

Jackie Brown clearly lacks the superficial pizazz and deconstructed narrative that wowed everyone in Pulp Fiction, but in its place there is a clear, strong story arc and a slightly more human, emotional slant. To my mind that's more than a fair exchange. But perhaps it's most helpful not to consider what it is or is not in comparison to its predecessor. Jackie Brown is an excellent movie in its own right.
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