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Jackie Brown (1997)

tomatometer

86

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 74
Fresh: 64 | Rotten: 10

Tarantino's third film, fashioned as a comeback vehicle for star Pam Grier, offers typical wit and charm -- and is typically overstuffed.

61

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 7

Tarantino's third film, fashioned as a comeback vehicle for star Pam Grier, offers typical wit and charm -- and is typically overstuffed.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 211,020

My Rating

Movie Info

Quentin Tarantino wrote and directed this adaptation of Elmore Leonard's 1995 Rum Punch, switching the action from Miami to LA, and altering the central character from white to black. Ruthless arms dealer Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), who lives with perpetually stoned beach-babe Melanie (Bridget Fonda), teams with his old buddy Louis Gara (Robert De Niro), just released from prison after serving four years for armed robbery. ATF agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) and cop Mark Dargus

Aug 5, 1998

Miramax Films

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on Jackie Brown

February 16, 2012:
Jennifer Aniston and Dennis Quaid Decide to Switch
They join the cast of the movie that really isn't a prequel to "Jackie Brown."
February 2, 2012:
Jackie Brown Prequel Adds John Hawkes, Mos Def
They'll play younger versions of De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson.

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All Critics (76) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (64) | Rotten (10) | DVD (39)

The tale is filled with funny, gritty Tarantino lowlife gab and a respectable body count, but what is most striking is the film's gallantry and sweetness.

March 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Quentin Tarantino puts together a fairly intricate and relatively uninvolving money-smuggling plot, but his cast is so good that you probably won't feel cheated.

March 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is more Jarmusch than Peckinpah -- its soul is in the minutiae.

March 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Slate
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Offers an abundance of pleasures, especially in the realm of characterization and atmosphere.

March 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's like a scuzz-bucket film noir directed by Stanley Kubrick at his most static-mesmeric.

February 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tarantino's finest, most mature movie to date.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While Jackie Brown can be too languid, drifting like one of Melanie's highs, its wearied, over-40 lows reveal Tarantino as a director who, once upon a crime, could've mined complexity and depth from the cracks and crevices of American genre movies.

January 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

A much moodier, slower pace from Tarantino's other work, but Jackie Brown is one enjoyable flick that rewards its audience with each viewing.

January 29, 2012 Full Review Source: IGN DVD
IGN DVD

might be his best film

November 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Succeeds as a witty Elmore Leonard crime story...but also as a surprisingly affecting mid-life romance. [Blu-ray]

October 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews | Comment (1)
Groucho Reviews

Tarantino's films aren't so much stories as strings of anecdotes: movie moments, urban myths, conversations strewn with pop culture references.

October 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

Mellower Tarantino still has sex, drugs, swearing, murder.

December 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Loaded with all the crisp dialogue, trademark camera work, and memorable characters that we've come to expect from every Tarantino film.

August 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Bullz-Eye.com
Bullz-Eye.com

Consider it a superb Elmore Leonard adaptation by a filmmaker who knows how to serve someone else's material while making it his own.

September 24, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

That this modest crime thriller can't quite live up to its audacious dance across so many strata of hip and hommage and self-referential cool it makes your head spin is hardly a surprise, or even a criticism.

March 13, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

When you absolutely, positively got to thrill every mother****er in the room, accept no substitutes. Jackie Brown is the AK-47 in Tarantino's arsenal.

August 20, 2006 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

Tarantino's tribute to creative influences, writer Elmor Leonard and blaxploitation star Grier, results in a more mature but less audacious film; last shot, taken from Queen Christina, only shows how magical Garbo was and Grier isn't

August 10, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

These are unquestionably Tarantino's greatest characters, and the actors eat them up with verve.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Forster and Grier have real chemistry in their limited time together on-screen. Forster has star-quality presence and is used well by Tarantino.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Those who were waiting to see Quentin Tarantino, a k a the most annoying man in Hollywood, fall flat on his face are likely to be disappointed with Jackie Brown.

January 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Audience Reviews for Jackie Brown

Aging flight attendant Pam Grier is caught between the police and ruthless gun runner Samuel L. Jackson and enlists the help of bail bondsman Robert Forster to scam half a million dollars in the process. Jackie Brown was met with a level of disappointment when it was released; yes it had the cool ensemble cast, excellent retro soundtrack and prolific use of the "N" word, but where were the violence, idiosyncratic characters and quirky comic dialogue we were all expecting? But the fact is, Jackie Brown is by far the most mature film Tarantino has made so far. The dialogue is more naturalistic, the characters believable and well written, and the statuesque queen of blaxploitation, Pam Grier proves that the years have in no way diminished her charisma and sex appeal. She gives a sensitive, layered performance of a woman who is full of confidence on the surface, masking an underlying fear of a wasted life; her relationship with Forster is full of warmth and sincerity rather than the contrived romantic bullshit you find in most Hollywood thrillers. Jackson is also fantastic as the cold as ice killer and they spark off each other brilliantly. This film is easily Tarantino's most low key and mainstream, but this most definitely is not a bad thing and deserves to be revisited by anyone who felt that disappointment the first time around.
January 9, 2014
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

After "Reservoir Dogs" in 1991 and "Pulp Fiction" in 1994, Quentin Tarantino was hailed as the new wunderkind of contemporary American cinema with his triumphant originality and seemingly effortless ability to excite audiences. However, there were still claims of him borrowing heavily from other movies and despite the second feature from a new filmmaker predominantly being the 'tricky one', it seemed that it was Tarantino's third that posed this problem for him. Added to which, he still had a few doubters wondering if he could emulate his previous successes.

In trying to make ends meet, middle-aged air hostess, Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is also a courier for local gun-smuggler Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson) but when federal agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) and LA cop Mark Dargas (Michael Bowen) get wind of her plans she faces time in jail. With the help of bail bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster), Jackie hatches a scam to play the police and her boss off one another.

As a big fan of crime writer Elmore Leonard and, in particular, his novel "Rum Punch" (upon which this is an adaptation), I was admittedly left with feelings of disappointment when I first seen "Jackie Brown". I was unimpressed and even entertained the thought that Tarantino‚(TM)s critics may well have been right. Upon repeat viewings though, it becomes apparent just how good a film it really is. For the most part, Tarantino resists the temptation of his usual pop-cultural references or the gratuitous violence that his name had become synonymous with. Instead, he opts for a more subtle and leisurely approach and in doing so, allows his actors the space to develop their characters and the drama to unfold at it‚(TM)s own pace. Again it could also be said that Tarantino pays yet more homage to films of the past. He changed the ethnicity of the lead female character in Leonard's novel from the white Jackie Burke to a black Jackie Brown which allowed him to cast Pam Grier and reference her blaxploitation films "Foxy Brown" and "Coffy" as well as, employing the use of Bobby Womack's "Across 110th Street". In no way is this a blaxploitation film. It's much broader than that but certainly has some hallmarks from that particular sub-genre.

As for Grier, herself, it's a bold move by Tarantino to cast her in the lead and essentially structure the film around her. Many have applauded this casting choice (I mean, let's face it, Tarantino rarely gets it wrong and has resurrected a few careers in his day) but I think I'm one of the few who actually thinks that Grier's performance is a little stretched at times. With the abundance of talent around her, she seems to play her hand a little too forcefully and has a tendency to overact. That being said, it would be hard not to play it this way when the company she's keeping are as strong as they are: Tarantino's go-to man for dialogue delivery Samuel L. Jackson echoes Pulp's Jules Winnfield only this time his gun-running Ordell Robbie has less biblical monologues and more of a dangerous cutting edge; Bridget Fonda plays his vacuous beach blonde accomplice to perfection while Michael Keaton's doggedly determined ATF agent Ray Nicolette has the requisite cocksure arrogance. The biggest revelation, though, is Robert Forster's Oscar nominated turn as bale bondsman Max Cherry. Forster achieved some acclaimed film and television performances throughout the 1960's and 70's but eventually fell into obscurity before Tarantino revived his career with this role. On this evidence it's hard to see why Robert Forster disappeared for so long. His work here is a nuanced and very subtle piece of work - which brings me to the other Robert.

Most of you will be aware of my fondness for all all things DeNiro but his work here is one of his most under-appreciated. While everyone around him sink their teeth into there colourful characters, his stoned ex-convict Louis Gara is left to sit in the background with very little to say or do. Leave it to DeNiro then to bring this character to life; his glazed look and awkward social communication is pitched so well that it's hard to take your eyes off him. When he is given something to do, though, DeNiro brings this subdued characters volatility to the surface with dangerous and convincing results. Rarely have I seen him steal so many scenes by practically doing nothing and even though he's seriously under-utilised, this is one of my favourite performances of his.

Not as well received on its release as the exceptional Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction but over the years this has gradually gained the respect that it deserves and stands as one of Tarantino's finest and most mature outings.

Mark Walker
November 13, 2013
MrMarakai

Super Reviewer

Among Tarantino's best films, "Jackie Brown" is of a simpler story told in a very broad and complex way, which is the official stamp to ensure it's one of his films. I must say that the writing here, just as all of his other films, it phenomenal beyond belief and will have you zipping through the film faster than any 90-minute film out there. Clocking in at 154 minutes, this film is more of a laid back experience than a film, because it is so well shot and engaging with it's filmmaking techniques. There is just a sense of wonder (in a violent and offensive way) that I get from watching a Quentin Tarantino film, and none of his films have ever failed me. This is filmmaking at the top of it's game and you can't get any better than this. My only complaint is that he kind of strays away from his usual structure which was a bit of a turn off by him, but somehow it still kept me wanting more. "Jackie Brown" is great!
August 3, 2013
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Just revisited this. Might be my new favorite movie.
January 22, 2013
CreedsDelight

Super Reviewer

    1. Jackie Brown: Shut your raggedy ass up and sit the fuck down!
    – Submitted by Matthew D (16 months ago)
    1. Ordell Robbie: Fuck's wrong with you, knockin' on the door like the goddamned police?
    2. Ordell Robbie: You lookin' to get shot?
    3. Max Cherry: I thought you might be asleep.
    4. Ordell Robbie: You keep fuckin' with me, you the one gonna be asleep. Forever.
    – Submitted by Tracey M (17 months ago)
    1. Ordell Robbie: Fuck's wrong with you, knockin' on the door like the goddamned police?
    2. Ordell Robbie: You lookin' to get shot?
    3. Max Cherry: I thought you might be asleep.
    4. Ordell Robbie: You keep fuckin' with me, you the one gonna be asleep. Forever.
    – Submitted by Tracey M (17 months ago)
    1. Ordell Robbie: Fuck's wrong with you, knockin' on the door like the goddamned police?
    2. Ordell Robbie: You lookin' to get shot?
    3. Max Cherry: I thought you might be asleep.
    4. Ordell Robbie: You keep fuckin' with me, you the one gonna be asleep. Forever.
    – Submitted by Tracey M (17 months ago)
    1. Ordell Robbie: What the fuck happened to you, man? Shit, your ass used to be beautiful!
    – Submitted by gur s (20 months ago)
    1. Melanie: Anyway, I keep that picture because, of all the fucking time I was there, thats the only picture I?ve got of me in Japan...
    2. Louis Gara: Thats Japan. Oh. Yeah...Well... Yeah, I can... Yeah, it looks. I could tell...
    3. Melanie: Wanna fuck?
    – Submitted by Nicola D (23 months ago)
View all quotes (17)

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