Chris' Review of Jackie Brown
After 'Pulp Fiction', director Quentin Tarantino had a huge task that many director's face: How do you top a critically acclaimed, award-winning film? While most would say 'go even bigger', Tarantino took us for a loop with 1997's 'Jackie Brown' a film that is somewhat of a step back for the director, but in a good way. 'Jackie Brown' tells the story of the titular character as she tries to save herself from a life in jail by planning to set up crook Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson in one of his best roles) and steal Ordell's 500,000 grand in the process with her bail bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forester). Audiences and fans of Tarantino at the time were not sure what to make of 'Jackie Brown' when it first released and some film fans today will tell you it's too slow and not what they wanted after 'Pulp Fiction'. However, I will go out on a limb and say that I personally have watched 'Jackie Brown' more than other Tarantino films and it's also the first Tarantino film to get me to really start paying attention to serious films and for that I hold it in a special place, dare I say it above 'Pulp Fiction'. While the film is a much slower two and a half hours than previous Tarantino flare, it works well to establish characters and lets us get to know them, to care about them, to despise them, whichever. Films like this are rarely made today, now films have to have MTV style editing and over the top sequences, but 'Jackie Brown' gives us a nice little pressure cooker of a film that slowly let's the steam out and if you're a fan of films or Tarantino, you'll love every bit of it. The acting in the film is what really keeps the film afloat, with some great performances by Pam Grier and Robert Forester (performances which helped rejuvinate their careers). Samuel Jackson is as good as always, this time around being a much more sinister and thuggish criminal, as opposed to the intellectual Julius from 'Pulp Fiction'. Robert DeNiro, Bridget Fonda, and Michael Keaton all do great as well. This film also marks the first time that Tarantino directed a piece not based directly on his own work, instead drafting a screenplay based on the novel 'Rum Punch' by the great writer Elmore Leonard. Although his directing style still comes through most of the film, I think the work of Elmore Leonard helps a lot. Overall, 'Jackie Brown' is a very good film, if not Tarantino's best film. You may not agree (I know plenty of people who flat out hate the famed director) but I found it highly enjoyable and well worth putting my money down.