New On Netflix: Jackie Brown

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Quentin Tarantino‘s super-cool neo-noir has the unfortunate distinction of being the movie that immediately followed Pulp Fiction, damning it to an eternity of “It’s good, but not as good as Pulp Fiction.” We argue that Jackie Brown (1997) is actually just as great as the auteur’s breakthrough film, with Pam Grier delivering a career-reviving performance as a flight attendant who hatches an elaborate scheme to play both sides of the law when she’s busted for smuggling cash for gunrunner Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), with Robert Forster joining her in the comeback corner as the bail bondsman who falls for her. Tarantino the Writer deftly adapts Elmore Leonard’s novel, Rum Punch, though it’s Tarantino the Director who really shines here, delivering a multilayered crime caper that’s full of surprises (some of them rather jaw-dropping, at that). The killer supporting cast includes Michael Keaton (who would reprise his role as ATF agent Ray Nicolette the following year in Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight), Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda and Chris Tucker, with Grier’s old Foxy Brown pal Sid Haig making a cameo as a judge.