Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The One Where AT Defends Jackie Brown


The One Where AT Hearts Jackie Brown, And You Should Too

Evening kids. AT here, taking over Grays Blog, to tell you why you should love Jackie Brown.

I remember going to see Jackie Brown, amid what seemed like a Tarantino backlash.

I remember Empire magazine almost feeling like it needed to apologise for it.

The hot Director of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction had totally changed the pace. This was all a bit talky. Not a lot… happens.

I’m a Tarantino fan boy, no question – and you should know that. I have my blinkers on, no question.

Here, unbelievably, more so than I do with John Carpenter.

I also back the under dog. If everyone turns on something, I’m probably the one who re-assesses. Sits there quietly, taking on board what everyone is saying.

Likewise if a film is overrated in my opinion, I probably turn on it.

Don’t get me started on Shawshank Redemption. Although to level that out, so I don’t lose all credibility, it took me ages to “get” Reservoir Dogs, too. I certainly didn’t fall in love with it instantly, like I did with Pulp.

The problem for me has always been that when criticism gains momentum, everyone wants in. Everyone piles round, and has a kick.

Before you knew it, everyone thought Jackie Brown was “talky”. That it was boring. That Tarantino had “lost it”, if he’d ever had it, in the first place.

Maybe he was a flash in the pan. If you believed what was written, he maybe wasn’t even that.

We know now, in hindsight, that after a serious lull, Tarantino wins everyone over. Ish. Inglorious Basterds wins him a pass. For a while at least.

For most though, Jackie Brown still doesn’t sit comfortably amongst QTs other movies.

It’s long. It is talky. And arguably not a lot happens.

If those things are criticisms, if they’re not your sort of thing in a movie, you’re unlikely to grave the Blu ray. Unlikely to want to watch it on a Sunday afternoon. Not while something less challenging is on, anyway. Especially if it’s a Bond re-run.

For me, though, those are exactly the reasons I’d want to watch.

Started with a typical splash of colour, the sound track kicks in.

Tarantino starts his role as cult film director by dragging Pamela Grier out of the wilderness. And bagging Robert Forster an Oscar nom.

Three films in, Tarantino made fans realise that recurring themes are going to be in his films. That he was a fans Director. That he knew what his fans wanted. And what everyone else wanted didn’t really bother him.

Opening the trunk of a car, we know the next shot will be from inside, looking up.

His foot fetish continues too.

Where Jackie Brown won my heart is clear to me, though.

It’s the mall scene.

Shot from different perspectives, we see the same event unfold from the view point of the main characters. Jackie tries on the same suit Mia Wallace wore in Pulp Fiction, and we ultimately end up in the car park with a genuinely shocking burst of violence.

As a huge De Niro fan, it pains me to say this was the last time he was great. But carrying on the revival of Travolta in Pulp, Tarantino throws in some other nods for his fans.

If you don’t raise a smile when Michael Keaton walks on screen, it’s ptobably not for you. This is Tarantino living the dream. Working from a Novel by Elmore Leonard, one of his heroes. Being able to direct some giants of the screen. It’s far more fun, than you’ve been led to believe.

The soundtrack fizzes, too.

Proving that the first two weren’t flukes, QT nails the soundtrack. 110th Street telling it’s own story, as the title cards unfold.

I think this is Samuel L. Jackson’s best performance. I think it’s Tarantinos most underrated film. I think the casting is genius – and the pace just right.

And I don’t think I’d argue with you if you said it was Tarantinos best film.

"This Is Some Repugnant Shit"