Jackie Brown Netflix | Amazon | Hulu | iTunes | Vudu | Xbox | YouTube DVD | Blu-ray Directed by Quentin Tarantino Starring Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro Miramax Films Originally Released: December 25, 1997
It was with great sadness to learn that Elmore Leonarddied this week. The great American novelist contributed some thorough and comprehensive work that was both engrossing and entertaining. From 3:10 to Yuma to Get Shorty to Out Of Sight, many of the author’s publications got the movie treatment, some with mixed results.
In tribute to the writer, I decided this week to look at Quentin Tarantino’s adaptation of the phenomenal book Rum Punch, retitled after the primary central character Jackie Brown.
Before jumping into the review, the first thing that I want to point out concerning Jackie Brown is the amazing soundtrack Tarantino uses for the movie. While the director has a reputation for outstanding music selection in his films, for me, Jackie Brown always stood out in many ways.
Not only does the music reflect the plot, the characters, and the setting magnificently – the movie also introduced me to some of the finest soul, funk, and R&B I’ve ever come across; and being a music addict, I have a somewhat sentimental attachment to Jackie Brown. For me, the soundtrack is so meticulously focused; it is reason enough for viewing the movie alone.
But Jackie Brown has so much more to offer than just the tunes.
Set in California, Jackie Brown follows the complex interrelationships between an assemblage of characters all centered on a gunrunner named Ordell Robbie (Samuel L Jackson). As a part of his operations, Ordell gets flight attendant Jackie Brown (Pam Greer) to smuggle his money into the country. During one of her runs, ATF agent Ray Nicolet (Michael Keaton) catches Brown with drugs in her baggage.
Upon bail, and knowing Ordell may kill her to avoid the cops getting closer to his business, she formulates a plan to make a deal with both him and the authorities, enlisting the assistance, and emotional support, from bail bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster), as the plan reaches fruition.
In spite of this, the stakes are high, and with everyone else plotting to try and get their own cut of Ordell’s money, Jackie Brown has to get it right if she is going to survive.
The writing of Jackie Brown, just like the Rum Punch novel, is tight. There are a lot eccentricities added to the flick not present in the novel, though these add accent to the overall movie. Many of these touches are typical Tarantino, paying much homage to the movies he grew up with, but also act as additional allegory. The adaptation makes a few changes, but for the most part stays true to the spirit of the novel.
All of the performances in Jackie Brown are exceptional and captivating. Samuel L. Jackson is brilliant, as always, but Pam Greer is phenomenal in the film, a performance that remains one of her finest to this day. Robert Forster is likewise extremely memorable, with a role that earned him an Academy Award nomination. The ensemble cast is phenomenal overall, with great work also from the likes of Robert de Niro and Michael Keaton, too.
Jackie Brown is a fine standard of a successful adaptation for Elmore Leonard’s work, but is additionally an excellent sampling of Tarantino’s work as well. The performances are stellar, the plot is tight, the music is PHENOMENAL, and the overall movie is powerfully captivating. Jackie Brown has always been a must-see movie in my book – check it out in memory of Elmore Leonard.