Jackie Brown (1997)
Jackie Brown was the last of the Quentin Tarantino movies that I had not seen, until now. Here is a film with a number of big name actors in their prime and an established director who had semi-recently directed Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994). So why did I wait 16 years to watch this movie? The answer is that I was only 11 years old when it was in theatres and it is rated R. I was thinking about watching it about 11 years ago, but I had only heard bad things from die hard Tarantino fans, so I decided against it. I figured I would get around to it eventually, but I sure didn’t think it would take me this long.
The film is about an arms dealer (Samuel L. Jackson) who is at risk of being investigated by the police, so he decides to clean up shop and dispose of some of the employees of his illegal organization. One of his employees named Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is not so easy to get rid of.
From the very start of the film, it feels like Samuel L. Jackson is playing basically the same character that he played in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. He is loud, he talks a lot, and he uses the F and N words way more than he or anybody else probably should. He gets away with it though because he is Samuel L. Jackson and somehow that makes it okay.
To this point in time, Tarantino’s films had been known for their heavy language, violence, and lots of dialogue. Jackie Brown carries on this tradition, except has far more scenes of people sitting or standing around talking. If the main characters are not sitting around an apartment chatting and smoking pot, then they are sitting around a bar or an office drinking, smoking cigarettes, and talking up a storm. There is an obscene amount of talking and far less doing, anything.
This is a 2 hour and 34 minute long crime drama. Honestly, it feels like Tarantino’s ego may have gotten the better of him while making this movie and he decided it was a masterpiece and therefore didn’t cut anything. Maybe he had gotten so much praise from his first two films that he let it go to his head. The film was probably an hour longer than it needed to be. Some scenes were so painstakingly slow that I got bored and a little sleepy.
De Niro seemed somewhat miscast. His character was so dumbed-down that it did not seem like he fit the part.
It was entertaining to see all of these big stars while they were still in their prime. However, Jackie Brown is a bloated thriller without very many thrills. This is Quentin Tarantino’s worst film. I’m glad that I finally watched it because now I know what all of the fuss is about. If you have not seen this movie, you’re not missing much.
I rate this movie a 4 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Run.