Jackie Brown Movie Review
Oh Quentin Tarantino, what a genius you are. Going in to watch this movie, I did not have high expectations. First of all, I read the book this was based on, Rum Punch, and I hated it. It was extremely boring, with most of the book being just people talking, and there wasn't much action at all. This movie isn't action-packed either but Tarantino still makes it good. Secondly, I had people telling me it was decent, with decent reviews, so I wasn't expecting to be blown away. Well, I nearly was. Nearly.
If you have not seen this movie, I suggest you stop reading this. I will most likely spoil it for you.
The movie revolves around flight attendant Jackie Brown (Pam Grier), who is a money smuggler for arms dealer Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson). When cops Ray Nicolette and Mark Dargus (Michael Keaton and Michael Bowen) bust her moving with Ordell's money, they give her a proposal. Help us take down Ordell and you walk, free of jail time. But arms dealer Ordell makes her his own proposal, don't tell the cops anything or I'll kill you, which we already know is no bluff. Being screwed, either way, Jackie hatches a plan to double-cross Ordell and the cops and make off with all of Ordell's half a million dollars, with the help of Max Cherry (Robert Forster), a bail bondsman who has fallen in love with her.
Every single thing is this movie is solid. It's really hard to find a flaw in it. For some movies, when I think that, I also think "there's nothing wrong with it, but there's not enough right with it." In this movie's case, there is plenty right with it, but it is a little slow. Other than that, there's really no knock on this movie.
The story is simple enough and easy to follow. Unpredictable enough to surprise you sometimes, and predictable enough not to be confusing. Every scene means something, and everything builds up to the movies satisfying conclusion. The direction in this movie is outstanding. A lesser director than Tarantino might have made this movie SUPER boring. But the amazing acting choices, wonderfully jazzy soundtrack (Tarantino is SO good at picking those), clever use of long takes, and the saturated colors compliment this movie's 70's feel extremely well.
First of all, the acting. Samuel L. Jackson, in a bit of a more understated role, still brings his usual humor and flare to a roll meant to frighten you, and it STILL does, the way he can go seriously in an instant. Grier is so good and convincing as Jackie. Michael Keaton is pretty much always good, and a special screen presence, as he doesn't do many movies. Robert Forster is great at portraying the old, washed-up man who falls for the girl, and is a wonderful performance, even if you barely realize it. And Robert de Niro is SO good in this movie as Louis Gara. His switch from usually big and bombastic characters, his slow, almost dumb character in this movie is hilarious and amazingly portrayed.
As I said, the movie is based on a book where most of it is people just sitting around, talking. And while this movie does have a lot of that, Tarantino makes it interesting. His soundtrack kicks in always at the right moment, sometimes just to be a jazzy tune to lighten the mood, or a fast, trumpet-y, thumping song to make everything feel rushed and tenser. It's hard to say a lot about this movie because, as I said, it's mostly talking. No Mexican shootouts, crime busts, blowing up houses, blowing up movie theaters (Tarantino likes to blow stuff up, huh?), just a bunch of people talking. It's still good because Samuel has the best voice ever, and everyone else makes this movie great and funny. A solid crime film with amazing characters, a smart heist, and a satisfying ending.
Overall, I would give this movie a
The only thing holding me back from giving it a 10/10, is that it is semi-held back by the book, not giving Tarantino too much room to breathe, and it is slow at points. Still a Tarantino classic though.