Jackie Brown - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Jackie Brown Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 26, 2010
Not Tarantino's best work but still an enjoyable homage to blaxploitation with a welcome comeback by Pam Grier - and even though it is a decent crime movie that has charm and style, it is also a bit overlong and could have had a few scenes left out in post-production.
Super Reviewer
July 25, 2012
Tarantino's best character piece.
Super Reviewer
½ February 18, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
½ June 12, 2010
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
Super Reviewer
½ October 1, 2010
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!
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2011
Just revisited this. Might be my new favorite movie.
Super Reviewer
January 7, 2013
Probably Tarantino's most mellow film, 'Jackie Brown' makes for an interesting film even if the plot doesn't sound like it. Its strongest suite is easily its fantastic cast, with well developed characters and a patient but clever script. It is not your typical Tarantino as we've come to know him today, but 'Jackie Brown' gets the job done in regards to being a good film.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2006
I feel it was wrong that this film was not as successful initially as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction were. Part of that might have to do with the fact that the film's story is based off of Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch, and is not original to QT, but that shouldn't matter.

What we have here is a middle-aged flight attendant who gets caught up in a smuggling scheme with a slimy gun runner who finds herself caught between him and the law, with an important choice to make.

Tarantino and the cast handle the material quite well and make it their own. One could start to call this movie Tarantino's homage to Blaxploitation, and while I can't completely deny that, I must say that it is only Blaxploitation in spirit. It's actually a romance of sorts disguised as a crime epic, and the way I see it, there isn't a damn thing wrong with that.

Pam Grier had a career renaissance here, and she does wonderfully. Robert Forster is also quite good, as is Sam Jackson, but I've always gotten the most enjoyment from Bridget Fonda's stoned beach bunny and a very low key Rober t De Niro as the wayward ex-con trying to get back into society.

The needle drops are wonderful as you'd expect, the cinematography is likewise top notch, and the film earns its lengthy running time by having interesting and well developed characters that we grow to care about.

This might be slightly lesser Tarantino, but it's still a brilliant film nonetheless. Definitely check it out, as it's a shame it's become one of his more underrated and under appreciated works.
Super Reviewer
December 27, 2012
Definitely not Tarantino's best as far as the plot goes, but the strong cast will make you quickly forget about that. It is also a lot mellower than his other films, but still has some sex, money, and violence to keep you satisfied as always.
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2012
Tarantino delivers once more with this witty flick. Though it tones down on the excessive violence that the director is accustomed to, the film is gracefully charmed with a clever plot, splendid dialogue and grand performance by the sensational Pam Grier. Jackie Brown is a presentation of Tarantino's take on wittiness and cleverness. 4/5
Super Reviewer
August 25, 2006
It's slick, cool and utterly hilarious. A total great time. Director, Quentin Tarantino has done it again with another two and half hour joy-ride. Pam Grier is marvelous. Samuel L. Jackson is terrific. Robert Forester is fantastic. Robert De Niro is wonderful. Michael Keaton is brilliant. A wonderful cast of characters. An Excellent all-star cast that deliver the goods. This caper flick is nothing short of sensational. It delivers with plenty of fun that dosent stop and also packs lots of comedy and slick twist and turns. A sharp and very well-crafted film that keeps getting better every time i watch it. A pitch-perfect masterpiece. Aint nothing but a good time. One of my favorite books that gets turned int one of my favorite films.
Super Reviewer
½ March 25, 2012
Tarantino's blaxploitation tribute is his most underrated film. The best Elmore Leonard adaptation and maybe his best ensemble cast. With a cast featuring Robert DeNiro, Sam Jackson & Michael Keaton, 1970's B-Movie star Robert Forster has the real standout performance. The Beaumont scene with Chris Tucker is one of my favorites.
Super Reviewer
½ July 18, 2012
Quentin Tarantino does it again by crafting a solid, near flawless third film with a great cast of talented actors. This is a well structured film that only Tarantino could make. I very much enjoyed the film, and this is one of those films that you kind of need to watch again because there are so many twists to it, that you're sure to miss a bit of the main plot. That's not a bad thing; on the contrary, it elevates the film's plot. The beauty of Quentin Tarantino is that his films are always multi layered and have something more to suck the viewer into his films. This is a well acted film that has a great story. If you're a fan of Tarantino's work, then Jackie Brown will certainly appeal to you. What makes this film a great viewing experience is the richly detailed plot, and colorful characters that Quentin Tarantino could create. This is a fine follow-up to Pulp Fiction. Tarantino is a fine director and this is a strong film that is sure to please fans. As far as a crime film is concerned, this one delivers what genre fans want. With witty dialogue, a great cast, and immaculate directing from Quentin Tarantino, Jackie Brown is a fine film that is a must see and is a fine tribute to the Blackploitation genre of film. Now, I've never watched that particular genre of film, but I've seen samples of the genre, and I think this film captures the vibe perfectly. Tarantino fans will surely love this, and this is quite an entertaining two hours of film. What makes Tarantino films stand out is the sharp, witty and cool dialogue that is a trademark of the director. In a way, it's what makes films worth watching. Quentin Tarantino is an effective storyteller with great ideas where the proof is always on-screen for us to enjoy.
Super Reviewer
½ June 4, 2012
The story, characters and dialogue aren't memorable compared to Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, or Reservoir Dogs, but this is smartly written and entertaining.
Super Reviewer
½ October 3, 2011
Like most of Quentin Tarantino's movies, "Jackie Brown" is strung together with sharp dialogue, intriguing characters, intricate camerawork, and engaging plot devices. It's unique but not as colorful and suave as many of Tarantino's other entrees. Similarly, it also doesn't have a particularly "unique" plot -- it's the style, technicalities, and wit Tarantino injects into "Jackie Brown" that creates such riveting entertainment. The pacing, contrary to other Quentin Tarantino outings, is not as crisp. Even more so, "Jackie Brown" has a slight stink of pretentiousness. Yes, movies need to show off their style, but there was a slight arrogance to its storytelling; in the end, the audience sits through "Jackie Brown"'s grandeur and eye-popping pep-rally but is not met of its promising claims in the main event. The movie itself is nowhere near the same caliber as "Pulp Fiction", "Reservoir Dogs", or even "Kill Bill Vol. 1". That is not to say that all the praise "Jackie Brown" received is not deservant of it; it's an intricately woven pop-culture film that satisfies, though not to the limit the film arrogantly claims it will fulfill.
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2009
Six players on the trail of a half a million in Cash. There's only one question... Who's playing who?

Although different than some of Tarantino's more violent precursors, such as "Reservoir Dogs", "Pulp Fiction" and "True Romance" this is an excellent film. The editing and directing is great.

Jackie Brown is the name of a flight attendant who gets caught smuggling her boss' gun money on the airline she works for. Luckily for her, the Fed Ray Nicolet and the LA Cop Mark Dargus decide to team up in order to arrest the arms dealer she works for, whose name they don't even know. Here's when she has to choose one way: tell Nicolet and Dargus about Ordell Robbie (the arms dealer) and get her freedom -except that if Ordell suspects you're talking about him, you're dead- or keep her mouth shut and do some time. That's when she meets Max Cherry -her bail bondsman-, a late fifties, recently separated, burnt-out man, who falls in love with her. Then Jackie comes up with a plan to play the Feds off against Ordell and the guys he works with -Louis Gara and Melanie Ralston, among others- and walk off with their money. But she needs Max's help. No one is going to stand in the way of his million dollar payoff...
Super Reviewer
½ April 30, 2012
It's Tarantino's least violent, least tongue-and-cheek, and least creative movie ever. But despite this, "Jackie Brown" contains Quentin's killer dialogue (an excess of it in fact - the movie could have been much shorter), and the acting is amazing - Robert Forster is unbelievably good.
Super Reviewer
April 28, 2012
The contemporary master of cinema, Quentin Tarantino, has so many excellent pieces of work, so many diverse, fascinating and exciting tour de forces, that some of his lesser known pieces, such as "Jackie Brown" are often lost in the history books. And alongside being forgotten they are also often dismissed as lesser films, or bad films. Despite this, Jackie Brown, which was Tarantino's work between "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill", is an excellent film.

As Tarantino's usual suspects re-assemble, we are told a tale of drug smuggling, guns and lots of cash as we mix with both criminals and the cops. The synopsis itself is not important, as the story unfolds beautifully with a little bit of romance sprinkled on top of a lot of suspense,

The problem with Tarantino's lesser known films is the fact that they are immediately compared to one of his always known masterpieces, rather than being compared to the average film. Reviewing "Jackie Brown" on an average film basis, you get the product of excellent direction, almost all good acting, an intriguing storyline, and an all over enjoyable film.

Samuel L Jackson heads up the team of actors, creating a typical Jackson Tarantino performance, but as always entertaining, and also creating a very believable and scary character, who scares his audience but also creates the character of Ordell into someone the audience like and enjoy being with on the screen, despite the fact they hate the fact they do.

Pam Grier serves up an excellent performance as the title character, who plays an excellent strong female character, who lead the film beautifully. Alongside her, we have Robert Forster, who serves up the best performance of his career. Although his character is possibly the most moderate, sensible and likeable person of any Tarantino, he makes a nice change to the other criminals who dominate the screen. Forster also empowers the traditional good of the screen where the police officers, played by Michael Keaton and others, fail.

But the best performance of the film comes from Robert De Niro. De Niro, leading the audience on throughout 90% of the film as one type of person, shocks and pleasantly surprises everyone with his small, but excellent performance.

The cinematography is nothing special, but what really dominates the film, is the ability of Tarantino to tell a fascinating story, and un-wide it, inciting the audience with every new move. "Jackie Brown" is an excellent film. The reason it is passed over as something less than it is, is because of the historical achievements of Tarantino, just even after 5 years of filmmaking.

But "Brown" is an excellent film, and one which should have a place in every film enthusiast's collection. Although it is perhaps too full of story lines, twist, sub-twists, and more, "Jackie Brown" is a great film by Tarantino standards, and a fantastic one by others.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
½ January 3, 2012
It has the feel of a Tarantino film but no real enjoyment from that. The acting is fun not engaging. Overall, the worst of Quentin's good films.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2011
A very good film, but it seems to lack Tarantino's usual "Kick" and it also tends to be rather slow.
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