Title: Jackie Brown
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton and Robert De Niro
Running time: 154 minutes, Rated R
Jackie Brown is a small-time airline flight attendant who gets caught smuggling cash and coke for Ordell, a gun runner. The feds tell her to make a deal, but Jackie doesn’t want to risk going back to jail and having to start her life over, so she enlists the help of bail bondsman Max Cherry to do one final run in order to score half a million dollars.
I feel a personal connection when I watch a Tarantino film. One reason is he places his stories in LA county’s South Bay area where I grew up. It’s like seeing someone from your hometown and the sense of pride feeling for their accomplishments as they’re played out on screen. I used to eat Sunday brunch regularly as a kid at the Cockatoo Inn, which is featured prominently throughout the film. I was actually at the Del Amo mall during one of the food court scenes, where I sneak-crossed the blockade because I didn’t want to walk all the way aound (it’s a big-ass mall), and didn’t know what movie they were filming until I saw Jackie Brown in the theatre.
I like this film because it’s a mellow heist film with romance, comedy and murder, as well as great characters and dialogue. Bridget Fonda is irritatingly adorable as the stoner beach bunny Melanie. Robert De Niro shows a bit of refreshing range as the dimwitted ex-con Louis. Robert Forster earned an Oscar nomination for playing bail bondsman Max Cherry, and if it weren’t for that darn Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting, Forster definitely deserved to win. Samuel L. Jackson is comically villianous as Ordell. Pam Grier was a great choice for Jackie Brown with the balance of tough yet vulnerable. Mind you it’s based on Rum Punch, an Elmore Leonard novel (who also wrote Out of Sight, Get Shorty, Be Cool), but Tarantino adds his own tweaks and trademarks including a great soundtrack; I’m still singing the chorus to “Across 110th Street.”
There are three hours of bonus features in the Blu-ray. Some of the better features are a trivia track (which sometimes is hard to keep up with all the info that flashes on the screen), the complete “Chicks With Guns” video which is hilarious, Siskel & Ebert “At the Movies” review, marketing gallery, a gangload of old trailers for Pam Grier & Robert Forster movies and deleted and alternate scenes.
Jackie Brown is Quentin Tarantino’s third feature film. It’s milder than his other films because there’s very little blood, so even the fragile cinema buffs can enjoy this movie. I’m not one of those smug Tarantinophiles who think he’s the greatest director of our time, but I’ve yet to find one of his films I haven’t liked.
Total Rating: A
Reviewed by JM Willis