, 153min, OF
Jackie (Pam Grier) knows she needs to pull off a flawless scam, or she'll be dead. Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson) will pop her, just like that guy they found in the trunk of a car. So she thinks hard, and so do a bail bondsman (Robert Forster) and an ATF agent (Michael Keaton). Everyone has a pretty good idea of exactly what's happening: They just can't figure it out fast enough to stay ahead of Jackie. Jackie Brown, 44 years old, is an attendant on the worst airline in North America, and supplements her meager salary by smuggling cash from Mexico to Los Angeles for Ordell, who is a gun dealer. Beaumont (Chris Tucker), one of Ordell's hirelings, gets busted by an ATF agent (Keaton) and a local cop (Michael Bowen). So they know Jackie is coming in with 500.000 dollars of Ordell's money, and bust her. Ordell has Jackie bailed out by Max Cherry (Robert Forster), a bondsman who falls in love the moment he sees her, but keeps that to himself. Jackie knows Ordell will kill her before she can cut a deal with the law. Maybe she could kill Ordell first, but she's not a killer, and besides, she has a better idea. The unfolding of this idea occupies the rest of the movie. At the heart of the story is the affection that grows between Jackie and Max. He silently guesses part of what Jackie is up to and provides a little crucial help. Jackie takes the help without quite acknowledging it. And their attraction stays on an unspoken level, which makes it all the more intriguing. If Tarantino's strengths are dialogue and plotting, his gift is casting. Pam Grier, the goddess of 1970s tough-girl pictures, here finds just the right note for Jackie Brown; she's tired and desperate. Robert Forster has the role of a career as the bail bondsman, matter of fact about his job and the law; he's a plausible professional, not a plot stooge. Jackson, as Ordell, does a harder, colder version of his hit man in Pulp Fiction, and once again uses the N-word like an obsession or a mantra. De Niro plays Louis as ingratiatingly stupid. Bridget Fonda's performance is so good, it's almost invisible; her character's lassitude and contempt coexist with the need to be high all the time. I wanted these characters to live, talk, deceive and scheme for hours and hours.