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“Jackie Brown” (1997) Movie Review

Jackie Brown Movie Poster

As I mentioned previously in my review of “Django Unchained”, I am a Quentin Tarantino fan. He is an extremely talented director, with many of his films having spots in my personal film collection. Yet, for some reason, I had never known about or heard of “Jackie Brown”. Releasing between “Pulp Fiction” and the “Kill Bill” films, “Jackie Brown” is an easily overlooked, under-the-radar Tarantino film about an airline flight attendant, a gun-runner, a recently released convict, drugs, guns, cash, and some members of law enforcement. Classic set-up for a Tarantino film right? Then why is this film always overlooked when it comes to discussions on Tarantino’s works? I don’t have an answer to that, but I can tell you about my viewing experience.

To begin, “Jackie Brown” is classic Tarantino. It fits perfectly right next to “Pulp Fiction” and before “Kill Bill” as you have a similar style to the former, with a female protagonist like the latter. Within that framework, and with the aforementioned characters and items, Tarantino crafts a slick crime thriller whose plot is constantly engaging. The twists and turns that the film takes over its 2.5 hour running time are entertaining to the point that you don’t always quite know what to expect from this group of characters. Further, the film moves at a fairly steady pace, never really getting bogged down, nor moving too quickly. Sure, there are some scenes that run a little long, but Tarantino loves his dialogue, and that makes some of those scenes.

Speaking of which, the film is just as well-written as any other Tarantino film is. He has always been lauded for his clever and quality scripts, and this one is no exception. Sure, some characters are a little eccentric, which Samuel L. Jackson always does right with his character having a dialogue that consists of 40% f-bombs, 30% racial slurs, and 30% of everything else. This is where Tarantino always succeeds – crafting humorous dialogue across serious scenes that still manages to make the viewer attached to each character’s fate, and “Jackie Brown” is a perfect example.

As always, Tarantino puts together a phenomenal cast, with Pam Grier putting in a great performance in the lead role.

As always, Tarantino puts together a phenomenal cast, with Pam Grier putting in a great performance in the lead role.

In mentioning characters, I will again give credit to Tarantino for bringing together an immensely talented cast. From Samuel L. Jackson, to Robert De Niro, to Robert Forester, there is a star-filled cast that performs to a high level (even down to its minor characters – Chris Tucker makes a nice comedic appearance). Still, I have to give a special mention to Pam Grier, who delivers a perfect performance as “Jackie Brown” and really revitalized her career (she was in “Mars Attacks” the year before). With such a great cast, the film really feels authentic in its execution.

Lastly, I just need to quickly mention the soundtrack for the film. Once again, Tarantino is often noted for his soundtrack choices and implementation. Here, “Jackie Brown” has become one of my favorites amongst all of Tarantino’s works. The soundtrack is exceptional in its selection and use throughout the film, and adds another layer of style to the film.

Overall, “Jackie Brown” is a great film. It doesn’t quite top the like of “Pulp Fiction” or “Inglorious Basterds” (my two Tarantino favorites), but it should easily be in the conversation next to any other Tarantino film. I am still amazed at how I was unaware of this film, and how unknown it is compared to Tarantino’s other works. I know I, for one, will be recommending it to anyone who enjoys Tarantino, or to any crime thriller fan (or even just a general film fan). Has anyone else seen “Jackie Brown” – what did you think? Where does is rank among Tarantino’s film library for you?

Final Score – 9.0/10

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