A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Produced By: Lawrence Bender
Written By: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
Running Time: 154 Minutes
When thinking about third instalments in a franchise, saga or just a director’s filmography, it’s hard to look past the likes of Return of The King, Toy Story 3 or even Goldfinger as the prime examples.
Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown is rarely contemplated as one of the best third pictures for a director, which is somewhat understandable when observing the two immensely unique films that preceded it. Yet this lack of appreciation feels unfair, particularly when comparing Jackie Brown to all of his other works and seeing how radically different it is to the lot. A low-key, slow-paced and easy going crime thriller, Jackie Brown is by far Tarantino’s most level-headed outing, offering grounded, realistic characters in profoundly human circumstances with just a pinch of the typical Tarantino flair.
Mobsters, cops and the mall all play heavily pivotal parts in what feels more street level than Reservoir Dogs, more restrained than Pulp Fiction, less violent than Kill Bill, less outrageous than Death Proof, less bold than Inglourious Basterds and less overtly grandiose than Django Unchained in all the right ways. Jackie Brown is a quintessential underrated gem.
Tarantino’s love for cinema is nothing we aren’t aware of. Transcending genres through resurgence and combination, he has developed a style over the years that we can recognise within a matter of seconds through an exploding head or the presence of the man himself through either a cameo or central role.
The only element that is definitively Q.T. within Jackie Brown is the sharp and quippy dialogue that dominates the picture, but even that feels stripped back.
The primary narrative at hand, involving a near-retired flight attendant who smuggles cash across the Mexican border to make ends meat and ultimately finds herself dealing with shady characters from both sides of the law, doesn’t necessarily strike one as being conceived by Tarantino – more something associated with The Coen Brothers.
However the manner in which the messy story plays out, particularly in its conclusion, clearly reminds audiences who is directing this picture in classic Q.T. style.
Helmed by a domineering lead in Pam Grier, her performance as Jackie is up there with other sensational female performances of Uma Therman and Mélanie Laurent. The key to the entire story and the binding factor for all components, Brown shows many faces throughout the picture, alternating as she interacts with a vast array of intriguing, varying characters.
The other notable player within the picture is Samuel L. Jackson, who plays black market gun-runner Ordell Robbie and delivers one the best performances of his esteemed career.
A engrossing antagonist with tension, humour and style oozing out of his archetypically 90’s appearance, Ordell is presented with the most memorable dialogue in the whole picture, made even more unforgettable by Jackson’s faultless delivery.
The stellar cast (which also includes Michael Keaton, Robert Forster, Chris Tucker and Robert De Niro) paired with a multi-faceted story and a slick overriding funky soundtrack make Jackie Brown a worthwhile watch.
Although it’s said to be the forgotten chapter in the Tarantino saga, the seemingly overlong suburban thriller is worth devoting two and a half hours to, particularly if you’re a fan of Q.T.’s work.
A classic tale of deception, deceit and double-crossing, Jackie Brown is one that builds slowly but surely, concluding in a refined but spectacular way all the same. It’s not the weak link in the chain, in fact it’s one of Taratino’s finest works, simply due to modest it is.
There is a time and a place for fireworks, blood splatter and flashiness, but Jackie Brown shines brightest without the added pizazz.