Jackie Brown: a movie review

jackiebrown.jpg A small-scale, low-tempo heist film rotating around intelligently drawn and thoroughly believable characters, Jackie Brown is Tarantino’s most adult film to date. It escapes both the operatic scale and the winking irony that permeates his high-drama pulps. The humor here is weary, even mournful, and the same could be said of the characters populating this mundane L.A. landscape.
Pam Grier’s performance as Jackie is a masterpiece of understatement. Jackie has no illusions about herself or her motives, and Grier makes her not only sympathetic but irresistible. She’s no sleek starlet: Jackie is tired and hardworking, full in the hips and a little worn around the edges, and she fills the screen with her breathtaking, jaded grace.
Jackie Brown‘s supporting characters are just as rich and textured, just as real:
– Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson ), a gun-runner and all-around bad guy with a broad smile and cold eyes;
– Louis (Robert DeNiro), an ex-con buddy of Ordell, and no rocket scientist; Louis can just about match wits with …;
– Melanie (Bridget Fonda), Ordell’s lackwit girlfriend who likes the beach, shopping, balling, and weed;
– Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton), the ATF agent who coerces Jackie into turning on Ordell. Keaton plays him with a cocky nervy energy and sodden, unsympathetic humor.
In this company, it’s quite a statement to say that an actor stands out, and one does: Robert Forster as Max Cherry, the bailbondsman Jackie turns to for help. Forster’s face has a rugged, lived-in terrain, and his soft eyes beam compassion and sorrow. He’s magnetic without being glamorous; you can see the loss and hope co-existing in his face.
It’s a gorgeous movie: small and intimate, at times uncomfortably so, and the last lingering shots of Jackie’s face possess an eloquence Tarantino rarely masters.

2 thoughts on “Jackie Brown: a movie review

  1. Hear hear! Your review makes me want to watch it again, no, own it even. Robert Forster gives me the impression that I know him from somewhere, not from films, but that guy I saw the other day, or… a real everyman.

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