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Monday, August 3, 2015

Jackie Brown (1997)

A flight attendant (Pam Grier) is detained by two government ATF agents (Michael Keaton, Michael Bowen) who discover cocaine in her carry on bag which she swears she did not know about. But the ATF agents actually have bigger fish to fry ..... namely the gun runner (Samuel L. Jackson) for whom she delivers money from Mexico to L.A. Based on RUM PUNCH by Elmore Leonard, the third film from Quentin Tarantino is possibly his best. While the film has all the familiar Tarantino touches, at heart it's a valentine to Pam Grier. The Queen of blaxploitation films in the 1970s, it's the role of a lifetime for Grier who takes the opportunity and runs with it. The part allows her to go from hard to vulnerable to resourceful to frightened, in other words, the gamut and she does it easily without going all actress-y on us. But she's not the whole show. In addition to Jackson, she gets excellent support from Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda and a beautiful performance by Robert Forster that earned him an Oscar nomination. The film is clever yet never falls into the trap of thinking it's more clever than it is. One of the best opening title credit shots (a homage to THE GRADUATE) I've seen. As with any Tarantino film, it has an irresistible soundtrack.

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