The Talks Today

चलिए खबर फैलाते हैं…





Jackie Brown - Pam Grier
International News

Why Tarantino’s Homage to Blaxploitation Deserves More Love

Why Tarantino’s Homage to Blaxploitation Deserves More Love

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Jackie Brown, Quentin Tarantino’s third movie. After Pulp Fiction, the world was at Tarantino’s feet, and he decided to change some of his habits for his newest movie; the only time he has adapted someone else’s work, as the story is from Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch. Is Jackie Brown Tarantino’s greatest film? No. Does it deserve a better place in the hearts and minds of everyone? Absolutely. And here’s why:

A New Playground for Tarantino

Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a flight attendant caught by the ATF for smuggling money and drugs into the States. If she doesn’t want to go to prison, she’s going to have to find a way to get some dirt on her arms-dealing boss, Ordell. The movie starts here and gets more complicated and twisty as it goes on, as she’s put in an impossible position where the most likely outcome is her death.


Jackie Brown had a lot of firsts for Tarantino. It was his first (and until now, only) adaptation. It was the first time he had a female lead; his first movie told in chronological order; his more mature work; his first film with a real romance; and he even toned down the violence and blood of his previous works. All those firsts and changes could have been a problem in less-experienced hands, but Tarantino showed he could play in this new playground. He grew as a writer and filmmaker, creating a movie with many new colors in his filming palette in this homage to both the Blaxploitation movies of his youth and his love for Elmore Leonard’s novels.

Jackie Brown is one of Tarantino’s best movie characters; she might start as someone with no outs, being squeezed by both his drug dealer boss Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson) and the ATF officer Ray Nichollete (Michael Keaton), but she gets out of both situations by creating her own plan, as she’s the only one who can save her life, starting a run for butt-kicking women in Tarantino’s films. This movie also gets Blaxploitation masculinity right, with the character of Ordell, a great performance, as always, by Jackson.

Related: A Closer Look at Quentin Tarantino’s Directing Style

Great Cast

Speaking of great performances, the cast for this movie is stacked. Everyone had seen Pulp Fiction and wanted to be part of the Tarantino universe. This movie has Grier and Jackson, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Chris Tucker, and Robert Forster in a career-changing role, just as big as Grier’s. All of them made Jackie Brown one of Tarantino’s best movies. The director was a Pam Grier fan to the point that when she went to meet him, she found many posters of her old movies in his office. When she asked if he had them up because she was coming over, Tarantino told her that he was going to take them down because she was coming over. As he did with Travolta a few years earlier, Tarantino gave Grier a new life, and she took it. Her performance here is amazing, full of charisma, and shows many emotions, as the movie is a roller coaster. She’s scared, sad, tough, sexy, thoughtful, and smart, creating a believable character that should’ve granted her an Academy Award nomination.

Forster is not far behind, as his chemistry with Grier makes for a beautiful midlife romance, while the rest of the actors love every second and every word of their characters, and relish them. Especially Jackson, as his Ordell is as loud as he is cocky, thinking he has everything figured out, and the world is his oyster. De Niro might look out of his depth in this movie, but that’s all acting, he’s playing a different kind of guy than we’re used to; his Luis Gara is a useless and incompetent thief, who Ordell only tolerates because they were together in prison, and De Niro nails his anxiousness and how to make himself small when his prison buddy/friend/boss is around. Keaton’s ATF agent would appear again in Out of Sight, as both are stories from Leonard’s books, making Jennifer Lopez’s Karen Sisco and George Clooney’s Jack Foley part of the Tarantino universe.

Related: Best Villains in Quentin Tarantino Movies, Ranked

Tarantino + Elmore Leonard = Lovely Romance

Tarantino often cited Leonard as a substantial influence on his writing, so when he wrote this movie based on Leonard’s Rum Punch, he was more than nervous to show it to one of his idols. Leonard loved the script and went far enough to call it the best adaptation of any of his works (this was before Out of Sight and Justified).

The style and characters of Leonard’s books always suited Tarantino, as both use unique dialogue, colorful characters, and criminals who are much more than what they steal or who they kill. One key difference between them might be in the love department. Leonard knows how to write sexy, flirty, lovely, and smiley, while Tarantino usually has no interest in it. That might be the reason Jackie Brown has what could be called the loveliest romance in any of Tarantino’s movies (The Bride and Bill might be the other one, but Bill shot her and tried to kill her, so…). The story between Jackie (Grier) and bondsman Max Cherry (Forster) didn’t come from Quentin’s brain, but he knows how to direct it, as both characters share a low-key, intimate, sweet love, that surprises both, sealed with a screen kiss that could compete with any other in movie history. The scene creates a bond between them that makes us feel as if they’ll be together after the movie, and believe in their happy ending.

The chemistry between both actors is pure fire as they both give what might be their best performances ever in a film that deserves much more love than it’s gotten in the last twenty-five years, as it gives us all the Tarantino standards: great acting, fun, and electric dialogue, incredible music, Samuel L. Jackson, and what might be Pam Grier’s best role ever.