Genre: Drama, Thriller
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro
Synopsis: An aging flight attendant gets caught smuggling money into the US for a gun-runner. Unfortunately, some coke was hidden with the money. She then becomes the central figure in a plot to deceive both the dealer and the cops.
I have a theory that you can instantly tell what a person is like based on what their favourite Tarantino movie is. After more than twenty years in the industry, Tarantino has produced a diverse filmography that not only caters to his own individual style but also to the varied tastes of his audience. For the aesthetes, you have the visual glory of Kill Bill. For the experimental, you have the intoxicating effect of Pulp Fiction. And for those who love boobs and cars, you have Death Proof. My favourite Tarantino movie, however, is one of his least well-received: Jackie Brown. This film is for those who love complex characters and those who give greater weight to substance as opposed to style.
That’s not to say that Jackie Brown is lacking in style because it’s not. On the contrary, the film is chock-full of gorgeous camera work and the hallmarks of a traditional Tarantino film (think rapid and sharp conversation, a soundtrack that is on point, and feet). What I mean to say is that Jackie Brown feels like a more mature and a more subdued version of a Tarantino film. It is a film that functions as a character study and, for the majority of its duration, the audience is left to observe the complexities the central characters. Other Tarantino staples, such as ultra-violence and general fucked-up-ness, take a back-seat.
It would be impossible to write this review without saying anything about Pam Grier. Let’s just get one thing straight: I love that girl with all my heart. I remember the first time I saw Coffy. I knew it was love right away. Any woman who dumps a salad bowl on a cracker bitch and is smart enough to hide razor blades in her weave automatically wins my respect.
In Jackie Brown, Grier delivers a nuanced performance and gives Jackie layers. We see her character’s strength, her intelligence, her wit, and also her vulnerability. As the film progresses, the audience’s affectation and admiration for her grows and, by the end, we are all rooting for her. She is a character we can all respect and one we can all identify with on some level. Grier is not the only one who delivers a stellar performance. Robert Forster and Samuel L. Jackson both give it their all, Forster as a love-struck bondsman and Jackson as the ruthless gun-runner Ordell. In fact, I would say that this is Jackson’s best performance ever. While some may prefer his role in Pulp Fiction, I think it’s this film that allows him to display his range: he’s funny, quick, and terrifying all at the same time. Plus, the man gets props for putting a bullet in one of the most annoying fuckers in the galaxy.
To be frank, you can’t go wrong with this movie. I’m having a difficult time picking out anything I actively disliked. This is simply Tarantino at his finest.
- Pam Grier kicking ass.
- Samuel L. Jackson with the rattiest looking weave I have ever seen.
- A well-paced and developed storyline that isn’t going to make you say: “say wut???”
- The hooker dancing to The Supremes was hysterical.
- A lovely ending: bitter-sweet with just the right amount of romance.
- Killer soundtrack.
- Sharonda the rock ho is pretty depressing.
If this is a Tarantino film you have yet to see then you are in for a treat my friend. It’s got top-notch characters, acting, writing, the whole shebang. Plus, it’s on Netflix. I’m almost tempted to give you my log in details just so you can watch it now.