Jackie Brown (1997)

After an eclectic array of post-PULP FICTION distractions-- vampire 
flicks, script doctorings, horrid Christmas Day anthologies, etc.-- 
Q.T. is back, doin' what he does best, adapting Elmore Leonard's 
"Rum Punch" as the year's best black comedy/caper flick/love story/ 
'70's musical revue.  (Forget BOOGIE NIGHTS, this is the soundtrack 
to shake your booty to.)  An exceptionally striking Pam Grier plays 
the title character, a 44 y.o. stewardess on a cut-rate airline, 
caught smuggling gun money (and a bit of blow) for Samuel L. Jack-
son's small-time L.A. arms dealer.  Facing a change to an already 
underwhelming lifestyle, she cuts a deal with the feds, enlists the 
aid of a bail bondsman (Robert Forster) who's a bit sweet on her, 
and begins concocting a scheme to win her freedom, and, maybe, just 
maybe, walk away with a chunk of the half mil that's also part of 
the plan.  

Yup, double and triple crosses ensue, but most of 'em are (fairly) 
easy to follow.  Far more (initially) jarring is the relaxed pace 
and straightforward narrative.  (That is, unless you've never seen 
a Tarantino flick, in which case you'll probably be blushing at 
Jackson's ample use of n***** and m*****f*****.)  Other Q.T. trade-
marks are present and accounted for, including the expected conver-
sational asides.  And there's only one zany, brainy instance of 
time-shifting, which happens toward the end, when an event is told 
thrice, from three different viewpoints.  The real joy, though, is 
in the depth of characterizations.  We're given a generous amount 
of screen time to know and grow to love the three principals.  In 
turn, Grier, Forster, and Jackson reward us with rich (and, in 
Jackson's case, also electrifying) performances.  Really, the only 
shame is that it has to end.  With supporting turns of varying suc-
cess by Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, and Robert DeNiro.  (Rated 
"R"/~150 min.)

Grade: A-

Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

keywords: film movie review mike michael legeros raleigh carolina   
Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: December 14, 1997

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