04 July 2007

Tarantino (1997)

1997 - Jackie Brown - Technically, I can't really think of anything wrong with this film, save it being, perhaps, a bit overlong. Tarantino stages his scenes to please the eye. The casting is spot on. De Niro, as always, disappears into his role. The resurrection of grindhouse vets Pam Grier and Robert Forster into a big-budget modern film worked surprisingly well. Unsurprisingly, Tarantino's soundtrack choices were beyond criticism. The script, adapted from Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch, ran smoothly from start to finish. Still, the film doesn't really do anything for me.

Perhaps one reason is that the movie is essentially about a lady of "advancing age" who figures out a good way to retire to Europe. If you're casting '70s mainstays into the lead roles, the subject of aging is going to have to come up. I'm just not sure this is what me -- or the audiences at the time -- were looking for in a follow-up to Pulp Fiction. Tarantino's previous two -- successful -- films were about "gangsters doing gangster shit," non-chronological story weaving, revelations and growth of character. Here we have a couple of lonely people past their prime doing the standard "double-double cross" crime fiction jig. Personally, gimme The Big Lebowski if you're going to dance to that tune.

Rather than the double-crossing and money smuggling, I was mostly interested in Cherry's crush on Jackie. I do admire the decidedly non-Hollywood ending this subplot generates: Cherry's just too straight and narrow to let go of his life to cavort in Europe with a girl and some stolen money. The shot of Cherry sobbing, blurred, in the back of the frame was nice. But, it felt as though it was too little and too late. So much of the movie was spent elsewhere, outside of Jackie and Cherry's relationship, that this last grasp for some emotional resonance seemed slightly cheap. (7/10)