Jackie Brown has been near the top of my Embarrassed-That-I-Haven’t-Seen-These-Movies list for a long time. Finally, over the holidays, I moved it from that column to my Netflix Recently Watched page.
Jackie Brown is, without a doubt, the most un-Tarantino movie in the director’s filmography. It’s incredibly conventional, and if not for the tell-tale dialogue—which is much more subtle than most his movies—one would have a difficult time pinning it on the auteur.
That’s not to say it’s a bad movie. It’s one of the finest heist/con films I’ve seen in a while. The script is sharp and the acting is fantastic. Samuel L. Jackson is turned up to 11, and it’s one of my favorite performances of his, though I have no idea what Robert De Nero is doing in this movie. De Niro feels so out of place his scenes are borderline awkward. I’ve a feeling Tarantino wrote his character with Harvey Keitel in mind, which would have been a much better fit here.
Pam Grier is an amazing woman. I’ve only seen one of her Blaxploitation films (Coffy), so can’t comment on her career as a whole, but her performance here as the title character is stellar.
Normally, “strong female characters” get on my nerves. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I think that female characters should be one-dimensional floozies. It’s just that the majority of times, the attempt to inject a “strong female character” into a film results in her being a one-dimensional woman-who-happens-to-know-how-to-fight, and she loses any and all “character.”
Ms. Jackie Brown, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. We never see her fight, but we certainly see her defend herself, and know that should she need to she’s willing to pull the trigger and make a mess. She might be running cash for a ruthless mobster, but she’s not afraid to make him play by her rules. She is the love interest of one of the supporting characters but never the object of his desire, and (SPOILER) when she falls in love herself and gets turned down, she’s upset. She’s tough, feminine, and above all, human. In a genre that rarely features strong female characters, she is certainly my favorite.
Jackie Brown is available on Netflix Canada, if you so desire.