Jackie Brown (1997)

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Despite the fact that ageing flight attendant Pam Grier is caught between the police and ruthless gun runner Samuel L. Jackson, she enlists the help of bail bondsman Robert Forster to scam half a million dollars.

Jackie Brown was met with a level of disappointment when it was released; yes it had the cool ensemble cast, excellent retro soundtrack and prolific use of the “n-word”, but where were the violence, idiosyncratic characters and quirky comic dialogue we were all expecting? But the fact is, Jackie Brown was by far the most mature film Tarantino had made to date. The dialogue was more naturalistic, the characters believable and well written, and the statuesque queen of Blaxploitation Pam Grier proved that the years have in no way diminished her charisma and sex appeal. She gives a sensitive, layered performance of a woman who is full of confidence on the surface, masking an underlying fear of a wasted life; her relationship with Forster is full of warmth and sincerity rather than the contrived sentimentality you find in most Hollywood thrillers. Jackson is also fantastic as the cold-as-ice killer and they spark off each other brilliantly.

This film is easily Tarantino’s most low key and mainstream, but this most definitely is not a bad thing and deserves to be revisited by anyone who felt that disappointment the first time around.

9/10

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