Jackie Brown (1997)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Written for the screen by Quentin Tarantino
Based on the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard

Pam Grier, Samuel L Jackson, Robert Forster, Robert DeNiro, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Michael Bowen, Chris Tucker, LisaGay Hamilton.

Forty-four year old flight attendant Jackie Brown (Grier), is stuck between a rock and hard place when she is busted by cops (Keaton and Bowen) for bringing in funds for ruthless arms dealer Ordell Robbie (Jackson). When she meets local bail bondsman Max Cherry (Forster), she strikes up a friendship with him. When Robbie wants one final package delivered, of over half a million dollars – Jackie hatches a plan, and she asks her new friend for help.

Starting from the get go, with the amazing 110th Street over the opening credits, to the final moments of the film where these two individuals, both in the mid life, wondering what their next steps are, is a flawless example of film making.

This is Tarantino’s only film to date to use another persons original work (based on the novel Rum Punch by acclaimed author Elmore Leonard) and makes it his own. While the story doesn’t belong to him, the film is quintessentially a Tarantino film with the stylistics, the way the camera moves with tracking shots – and some of the camera angles, like the ‘trunk POV shot’, and extreme close ups to mundane moments of life.

The most importat part of the mise en scene is the soundtrack which screams both MoTown and Soul. While it is both part of the background in many moments of the film, it is also brought into the film itself, and is part of what brings Max and Jackie closer together.

The acting is astounding, and the star crossed love between the aging pair is heartbreaking. Cherry is a man in his 50’s who is weary of what he does, his interactions with the woman a decade younger than him brings out a new energy in him. The late Forster is the MVP in this film, and it’s even more tragic watching this now he is no longer with us.

I didn’t respect this film growing up, because I was too young to empathise with the characters, but this is by far one of QT’s best, if not his best film to date.



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