I first watched Jackie Brown when it came out in the cinema back in 1997. And, like so many people at the time, I was unimpressed. I fell into that large group of people who felt it wasn't up to the violent/gory standards of Reservoir Dogs or the cleverly made-up standards of Pulp Fiction.
Now, fifteen years later, I decided to watch it again and see if my opinion has changed. Now I'm not so blown away with the great Pulp Fiction, I thought I might be less biased.
Sadly, my opinion hasn't changed that much.
This time I was able to look at it as a stand-alone film, not just `Pulp Fiction 2,' yet, unfortunately, I still found it sub-standard.
It's two and a half hours long. And, for quite a lot of time, it really feels like it. Samuel L Jackson plays a similar (if not as cool/likeable) character as his one in Pulp Fiction and does his best to carry the show. Robert DeNiro is obviously a great actor of the modern age, yet he doesn't seem to come alive at all. He mainly sits on the sofa looking like someone who's come on his own to a nightclub and doesn't know whether he should leave or not. (despite participating in the film's really only shocking and unexpected moment of the film). Plus the film's titular character, Pam Grier, is as good as she can be and Bridget Fonda makes good eye candy for the lads!
The major gripe I have with the film is its constant use of over-wordy dialogue for scenes. Yes, we get to know the characters well through how they interact with each other, but it's just too much. Each scene is dragged out for longer than it feels like it needs to be.
Sometimes films are re-released as a `director's cut' with added material. Jackie Brown is one film I'd like to see a director's cut of which has been trimmed down to a shorter run-time.
Jackie Brown is not Pulp Fiction. It doesn't try to be. It does win points for staking a claim to being a film in its own right. However, the fact remains is that it just isn't as good as anything Quentin Tarrantino has done before it, or since.
I'm glad I gave it a second viewing. Even though now I doubt I'll ever watch it again (even in another fifteen years time), I didn't feel like I'd completely wasted the two and a half hours of my life. I just felt that there are better gangster-style films of the genre than this, despite its impressive ensemble cast.
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