Sunday 5 April 2015

Jackie Brown (1997)

The most recent film to be reviewed for The Fictional Hangout is Jackie Brown, a Quentin Tarantino movie starring Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Robert DeNiro, Michael Bowen, Robert Forster and more.

Quentin Tarantino is one of my favourite directors, but I’ve still not yet seen all of his films, which is why when I reviewed Reservoir Dogs I set myself a challenge to watch and review all of his movies – including Pulp Fiction, which is the most recent Tarantino movie that I’ve seen, and loved. Those two movies join the WW2 movie Inglorious Basterds and the one that I’m reviewing here, Jackie Brown, as the Tarantino films that I’ve seen so far and it’s a fantastic collection of movies. All of them are excellent, unique, and in a class of their own, and Jackie Brown makes a brilliant addition to that list.

Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a flight attendant who gets caught smuggling cash into the country for her boss, Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson). However, when the ATF Agent Ray Nicollete (Michael Keaton) and LAPD Detective Mark Dargus (Michael Bowen) try to use Jackie to get to help her bust Robbie, she comes up with a plan with the help of bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster) to escape with the money, and the end result is great to watch as all the gameplayers get drawn into a unpredictable, back and forth game of cat and mouse, where nobody is safe.

As usual in Tarantino movies, the soundtrack is great. Bobby Womack’s Across 110th Street is a great introduction to the film and is one of the more memorable opening songs that you’ll see used in a film, and Johnny Cash’ Tennessee Stud also makes a notable inclusion. It’s an excellent score that really fits the tone of the film and helps make it all the more memorable, with some great music choices that work.

The acting, particularly from Grier and Forster, really shines. Grier nails it as Jackie Brown, the titular character, and Forster plays Max Cherry really well. Samuel L. Jackson, a Tarantino regular, is a really intimidating presence as the antagonist Ordell Robbie, and you never quite know what he’s going to do next. Robert DeNiro, playing as one of Robbie’s henchmen, a friend and former cellmate, and Michael Keaton also round up the A-List cast that really help make this film work, with the actors really doing their best to make some excellent additions to the film.

Based around Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch (Elmore Leonard adaptions always seem to end up being really good, case in point, FX’s awesome Justified – but I haven’t actually read any so can’t compare them to the source material), the dialogue in this movie is, like Tarantino, excellent and really natural. There’s nothing that seems forced here and once again, the dialogue is one of the many reasons why the film really works.

Whilst Jackie Brown may not quite be my favourite Tarantino movie, with Pulp Fiction holding that honour, it’s still a damn sight better than the majority of films that aren’t directed by Tarantino, and comes highly recommended to anyone who hasn’t already seen this movie. You won’t be disappointed – it’s just that good.

VERDICT: 9.75/10

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