the fresh films reviews

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Jackie Brown (1997)

Quentin Tarantino



Jackie Brown

154 minutes

Lawrence Bender
Screenwriter (based on "Rum Punch" by Elmore Leonard):
Quentin Tarantino

Cast includes:

Jackie Brown Pam Grier ½
Ordell Robbie Samuel L. Jackson ½
Max Cherry Robert Forster ½
Melanie Ranston Bridget Fonda
Ray Nicolette Michael Keaton ½
Louis Gara Robert De Niro ½
Det. Mark Dargus Michael Bowen -
Beaumont Livingston Chris Tucker -
Sheronda Lisa Gay Hamilton -
Winston Tommy "Tiny" Lister Jr. -
Judge Sid Haig -



Jackie Brown is so far the first and only time Quentin Tarantino wrote an adapted screenplay, based on Elmore Leonard’s novel "Rum Punch", and it plays like a fine-tuned, well-oiled mechanism. Compared to Tarantino’s other films, this is a cleaner, more genre-faithful crime story. And he even tones down the violence, which here is often hidden from view and filmed in a 1970s tradition. Jackie Brown is first and foremost about plotting and characters, all of which are penned, played out and photographed in a way that makes the film dance elegantly on a fine line between stark realism and a celebration of Hollywood’s crime movie-tradition. The latter, of course, has always been an important element in Tarantino’s films, but in Jackie Brown he uses it for effect more than to make a statement. The film doesn’t come off as post-anything – it’s right in the thick of it, completely unaware of the tradition it belongs to, and thus a lot less self-conscious and self-referring than most of Tarantino’s other films. This immediacy lifts the crime story and basic premise of the picture, which is as clever as it is uninhibited. And it is helped along and bolstered by some typically meritable narrative tricks from Tarantino, who toys with perspectives and timelines. There are without exception brilliant performances from the entire eclectic cast, which is superbly selected by Tarantino. None more so than Pam Grier and Robert Forster, who enjoyed well-earned career-rejuvinations as a result of their work.

Re-reviewed: Copyright © 16.04.2021 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review: Copyright © 28.11.2003 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang