SIX PLAYERS ON THE TRAIL OF A HALF A MILLION IN CASH. THERE’S ONLY ONE QUESTION… WHO’S PLAYING WHO?
At the same time as she’s having an affair with her bondsman (Robert Forster), flight attendant Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) makes deals with a gun runner (Samuel L. Jackson) and an ATF agent (Michael Keaton). Quentin Tarantino’s first movie to be based on a novel is one of his least violent, even though it takes place in the seedy underworld of Los Angeles. It’s a terrific comeback vehicle for both Grier and Forster, two veterans who are cool and engaging as the flight attendant and the bondsman; Jackson and Robert De Niro also make the most out of their lowlife characters, the latter playing against type. Tarantino lifts the story out of the ordinary with sharp dialogue, a great soundtrack and nifty blaxploitation references.
1997-U.S. 154 min. Color. Produced by Lawrence Bender. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Novel: Elmore Leonard (“Rum Punch”). Cast: Pam Grier (Jackie Brown), Samuel L. Jackson (Ordell Robbie), Robert Forster (Max Cherry), Michael Keaton, Bridget Fonda, Robert De Niro… Chris Tucker.
Berlin: Best Actor (Jackson).
Quote: “AK-47. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitutes.” (Jackson)
Last word: “Do I have the right to write characters other than me, other races, and do I have the right to know these characters, do I have the right to have these characters talk in the truth of who these people are? I know who Ordell is because I wrote him. There’s a form of racism, strong racism when it comes to that question. If a black guy wrote ‘Jackie Brown,’ they might ask that question but they would ask it in a different way. I feel that’s racist. I feel that as a writer I have the right to create my characters. I am hindered only by my talent. And I have a talent for writing black characters all right, because they are me. These characters are me and I know the truth of me and I am writing me, all right? I will not lie. That is the number-one thing I won’t do. I will not tell a lie when it comes to my characters. ‘Oh, maybe it’s okay if you use the word ‘nigga’ eight times, but not as many times as you did.’ Well, I didn’t realize I had a nigga allowance and I spent it all up, all right? My characters are talking and they ain’t counting their words. They say muthafucka, they do what they do.” (Tarantino, New City Film)