It happens all the time. A musician or film series gets it's newest release after a groundbreaking or trend setting piece. If it doesn't live up to the previous works watermark level it gets lambasted. Alanis Morriestte had this happen after Jagged Little Pill, The X Men and Spiderman films after successful sequels in some people's minds disappointing follow ups the third time around each, and almost like clockwork, Quentin Tarantino has his third film with Jackie Brown and without the blow your mind attitude of Pulp Fiction, many hated this movie. Many saw it akin to the great old metal bands that decide it's time to bring in the chello section to make the albums better, regardless of whether their metal fans want it or not.
Jackie Brown is a flight attendant for a minor league Mexican shuttle service who supplements her income smuggling money into the country for Ordell, and illeagal gunrunner. She gets pinched coming back into California and is now left in a dilemma, go to jail to protect Ordell and come out of jail looking at an uncertain future with whatever job she can find or confess to the cops and risk Ordell killing her. Jackie plays games with both sides to hopefully get Ordell out of her life and stay out of jail.
As you sit and watch this movie, you know it's a Tarrentino film, his pop culture mentions, his smooth talking sleazy LA characters that talk as regular people may talk, tensesness letting scenes play out instead of rushing things along and some harsh violence thrown in. The whole time you watch though you feel very laid back, almost too laid back as the characters talk and scheme and plan and talk some more.
The talking is the biggest plus and minus of this movie. The characters talk so much about things that they really start to live and breathe and you almost hope that the movie won't end or that some other movie will come together with the same characters so you can experience them all over again. It also makes the movie crawl, especially to people with CADD (Cinemattic Attention Deficet Disorder) who need everything right away and in their face with no explaining. It's very actionless for the most part and again laidback. So laid back it is that you almost feel no danger for Jackie's plan and it relieves some of the tension and it never quite reaches the harsher and hairier moments of Tarentino's earliar work.
Another thing that is missing is Tarantino's shuffling back and forth of the story. This movie is his only one so far that goes from point A to F without going something like D A C F B E. Some people may take that as a blessing.
As far as characters, it's three leads in Pam Grier, Samuel L Jackson and Robert Forrester are phenominal. The rest of the cast is great too but these three are the highlights and no scene that they are in suffers at all.
I saw Pulp Fiction years ago and was turned away by a weird story and it's drug use. It was a good movie and I enjoyed it the more I saw it and one of these days may dare to watch it in one sitting. Reservoir Dogs was better but on a smaller scale and the violence was offputting to some. If you like Tarantino's movies and style of directing but were turned away by what you saw, you might just love Jackie Brown more then others and really appreciate Tarantino's work without wincing.
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About the reviewer
John Nelson (TheJohn)
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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