Jackie Brown (1997)
Reviewed on 2010 August 4
A flashy and convoluted yarn about a stewardess with a bag of cash, a drug runner who’s a legend in his own mind, and a bail bondsman.
Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a flight attendant for Cavo Airlines, which as she puts it the worst airline in the industry and the nadir of her career. They pay her a whopping $16K and change a year, but it’s steady. She faces losing even this when a side job she does for gun dealer Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson) goes wrong. She realizes Ordell is not going to trust her and she’s now in trouble on both sides of the law; which, in a great scene, is reinforced by Max Cherry (Robert Forster), the bail bondsman Ordell pays to free her. (Watch their faces here, it’s wonderfully done.) Jackie has to figure out what she’s going to do next. Fast.
Quentin Tarantino took on Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch and tossed in Grier, Jackson and lots of his own snark to concoct this. I get the impression that a lot of people think this is one of his lesser works because it has more story and less style than some of his stuff, but that’s fine with me. Come on, it’s Pam Grier. There’s also Robert De Niro as a laconic ex-con, and Bridget Fonda as Melanie the human ornament, whose sole purpose seems to be smoking bowls and draping herself across Ordell’s furniture. I think this has more depth than Tarantino’s other films, even Pulp Fiction; it’s got his usual snot quotient, but there’s a couple of great sequences where Max and Jackie talk about the fear of getting older.
Three chocolate morsels. With a cherry on top.