BY AMBER KELLY-ANDERSON
THE DL: Worn out flight attendant and down low smuggler Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is caught up in a crisscrossing crime thriller as law enforcement officials (Michaels Keaton and Bowen) attempt to derail gun running thug Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson). A rare beast in the Tarantino menagerie, the plot is based on pre-existing material, the novel Rum Punch by Elmer Leonard.
RESIDENT BAMF: There are many deserving shout outs here—Robert De Niro’s deadpan expression as Louis during Jackson’s opening monologue, Bridget Fonda’s pothead surfer girl Melanie and Jackson himself, always a MVP (his parade of jaunty askew Kangor hats could also vie for billing). But the film boils down to Grier’s winking portrayal of clever Jackie and Robert Forester as Max Cherry, the wry, smitten bail bondsman who partners with her. It’s a tie.
WHAT A QT! (CLASSIC QUENTIN MOMENT): The usual suspects are present (Chris Tucker is tempted to his doom from a trunk point of view, while Bridget Fonda’s feet flirt their way through her scenes). However, the use of long shots is at its peak. The film opens with Jackie walking through an airport to “Across 110th Street,” a song reprised during the long shot of her driving that frames the film. During a crucial exchange, the camera follows the increasingly panicked Jackie through a mall (only the brilliance of Tarantino would set a sting operation in a shopping mall). Then the camera follows Max as his role in Jackie’s plot is revealed. The long shot technique works to maximum effect here because Forrester and Grier display such facial nuance.
PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC: When Max first visits Jackie’s home, he finds her playing the Delfonics, the tape of which he subsequently buys. Like a lovestruck teenager, he plays their hit “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time” on repeat in his car, shyly lip-syncing, because, yes, Jackie did just that.
My ass may be dumb, but I ain’t no dumbass.
– Ordell to Max
Because we’ve all lost our car in a parking lot. Hopefully, just not at such an inopportune time.
Amber Kelly-Anderson is a Texas-based writer and literature professor harbouring a long-standing infatuation with film. Her lifelong missions are to Save Ferris and voice a Pixar character. Read more of Amber’s posts.