Jackie Brown

10  APR
Six players on the trail of a half a million in Cash. There's only one question...
Who's playing who?

Directed by  Quentin Tarantino
Written by  Elmore Leonard, Quentin Tarantino
Starring:  Pam Grier (Jackie Brown)
Samuel L. Jackson (Ordell Robbi)
Robert Forster (Max Cherry)
Bridget Fonda (Melanie)
Michael Keaton (Ray Nicolet)
Robert De Niro (Louis Gara)
Runtime: 151 minutes

I expected more from this new movie directed by Quentin Tarantino after the cult Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Instead, most of Jackie Brown is rather plain and conventional, the narration is almost always linear and there isn't much violence as in the previous two movies (not that this is necessarily a negative point!).

The story is about Ordell, an arms dealer, who is trying to bring a large sum of money from Mexico to the US with the help of a flight assistant, Jackie Brown. The federal agents who want to arrest Ordell seek for cooperation from Jackie and so she has various choices: stay loyal to Ordell, team up with the feds or double-cross both and try to keep the money for herself. A few other characters enter this basic plot, everybody on the edge of loyalty and betrayal, integrity and duplicity.

All the characters are well thought and the actors are good, Samuel L. Jackson is particularly worth noting for his acting. Robert De Niro hasn't many chances to show his abilities, I think he could have been exploited in a better way or just left out of the cast and replaced by any 'unknown' actor.

From time to time there are witty dialogues and situations which make the movie interesting but this is not enough to make it stand out of the crowd, also because none of these are memorable unlike some parts of Pulp Fiction, for example. There are a fairly high number of vulgarities, Samuel L. Jackson is the first black person I hear saying 'nigger' to everybody else so many times!

Incidentally, what makes it more absorbing is the hope that sooner or later Tarantino will manage to invent something good... it's a pity that this never fully happens! In fact there is only one situation which is rather intriguing since it both features a couple of unexpected events and it is also shown three times under three different points of view (something that recalled me of Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956)... which is not actually a good thing!).

Overall, the movie is too long and especially at the beginning it is slow and uninteresting. It improves a lot while the facts start getting more intricate but the conclusion of the whole situation is not particularly remarkable. The last scene is still quite appealing and it has a certain charm but this is not enough to let me forget about the initial boredom. I suppose that Tarantino tried to enlarge his audience by making something more conventional than his previous productions but unfortunately he only managed to make an ordinary movie...

Rating: 6.8  ***

Links:  Official Site




© Copyright Sergio Monesi, 1997-1999.
Last updated: 25 Jun 1999