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Drama - Crime

Jackie Brown (1997)

Duration2h 34m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Spain: 13, Canada: 14A
Source of storyA book “Rum Punch” by Elmore Leonard
DirectorQuentin Tarantino
Writers/ScriptQuentin Tarantino
StarringPam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Robert De Nero, Michael Bowen, Chris Tucker, 
RatingsIMDb: 7.5 by 312,660 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 87% by 84 reviewers.

Elevator Pitch: Jackie Brown is a forty-something flight attendant working for  a doubtful airline operating between Mexico and LA. In order to improve on her  salary she carries dollars across the border for Odell Robbie a Los Angeles gun runner. However when one of Odell’s henchmen is arrested he bails the man, and then shoots him, but not before Jackie Brown has been inplicated. She is captured by the law and makes a deal which will result in the arrest of Odell. Meanwhile Ordell arranges to have half a million dollars brought into the country, so Jackie must somehow find a way of keeping the money while out manoeuvring both Ordell and the FBI. 

Content: There is a bit of sex but no nudity between Melanie, one of Ordell’s women and Louis, one of Ordell’s sidekicks. Some characters drink a lot, and Melanie’s feet feature. There is a some almost incidental violence as people are shot with hand guns. But mostly people sit about talking or at one time Ordell and Louis watch a video of young women in bikinis firing automatic weapons. The actual tricky bit where Jackie steals the money is filmed from three different points of view, with a clock to show the viewer what is happening.

A View: This movie may be based on the Elmore Leonard book but it is heavily overlaid with Tarantinoisms, not all of which I understood until I read about them. Pam Grier was a “blaxspoitation” actress and the Kangol beret was much used by black rappers. Also it seemed to me that in some scenes the actors were made up to the point of parody, but I’m not sure why. In the book the reason for smuggling the cash was different, and surely if you could smuggle guns into Mexico you would have a better way of getting the payment.  It was well liked by a limited number of critics, and is probably essential viewing for film buffs, whether you like it or not.

Additional Info: It is said that Tarantino has a foot fetish, which seems to be born out by the amount of time focused on Melanie’s toes while she talks to Louis.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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