Jackie Brown (1997) - DVD Review
By ScottC - posted 01.21.03 @ 7:22 pm
Written by: Quentin Tarantino, based on the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard
Released by: Miramax Entertainment
My Advice: Own It, motherfucker.
This is a good example of a successful adaptation. Tarantino took the essential spirit and plot from Rum Punch, but added his style of dialogue and cinematic touch to make a blending of the two. He knows what parts would and wouldn't work on screen, a feat a lot of directors can't seem to grasp. Using another writer's material could be why this movie isn't on a massive dose of methamphetamines. Tarantino still has the motley bunch of characters and the delving into the criminal underworld in the finest 'pulp' tradition, but the pace is much slower and the story follows a more linear path. Because of this, you get to observe the performances better without so much distraction. Grier combines the confidence and toughness the character puts off, but still allows the audience to see how she always has an eye on Ordell and the Feds. Forster has that world-weary calm even when facing Ordell in his cheerful homicidal mania. But you can see the cracks when he's near Jackie. These two have great chemistry and Tarantino must be given credit showing characters being romantic who aren't between 18 to 35. Jackson plays the charming criminal badass type so well, never letting it become caricatureâ€¦unlike Bridget Fonda and De Niro who phone in their performances. They aren't bad, but you can tell they're on autopilot.
The DVD features are a mixed bag, but it's a big bag. On the plus side, we have the alternate and deleted scenes, especially the alternate beginning with Pam Grier "surfing" down the airport slidewalk. The docu featurette does have a bit of fawning, but there is some interesting information--like Tarantino has a "skirt day" where everyone on the crew shows up in a dress.
The "Chicks with Guns" video, which plays in the background in Ordell's apartment, is a funny send-up of the American obsession with automatic weapons and half-naked women. Also, the production stills--usually a throwaway feature--has location shots, set designs, and behind the scenes photos. On the minus side, the disc includes many reviews of the movie including when it was reviewed on Siskel and Ebert. This confuses me. Why have stuff that praises the movie when you already bought it? At that point, do you really need to be convinced?
Then there is the interview with Tarantino, otherwise known as the poster child for ADD. This man has way too much nervous energy for his own good. And as he introduces the movie and various features, you can see him reading a prompter off to the side. Sad. Either learn the thirty seconds of material or at least center the cue cards.
Minuses aside this is a great movie with some good features. Buy it.