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3 Things I Sorta Understand About Jackie Brown (movie review)

If you don’t count one episode of ER and a segment from Four Rooms (I do not), Jackie Brown is Quentin Tarantino’s directorial follow up to Pulp Fiction, so expectations are high. If Alfred Hitchcock was still alive, I think he’d of made this movie… and done a better job, too. Saying one director isn’t as good as Hitchcock isn’t exactly an insult, but Jackie Brown is not without it’s problems – or its successes. Here are 3 things I sorta understand about Jackie Brown.

The Pacing is kinda… I dunno.
I think this flick falls under the category of “slow burn” in terms of tension, which is a nice way of saying this movie starts like an old car on a cold day: somewhere between not at all and slowly. This doesn’t bother me much, but if I was making this movie, I’d be concerned. It’s not the world’s fastest 154 minutes. The other thing is that the movie never really picks up except in that second money transfer sequence, and then… well, next topic.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON!

The Arc Shot
Let me start off by saying that I’m no director of photography and the three production classes I took in college did not cover this sort of thing, but I’m pretty sure that the camera move during the second money transfer at the mall is called an Arc Shot. By “Arc Shot,” I mean that the camera rotates around its subject, keeping the same distance but changing the angle at which it views that subject. This is easily the most memorable shot in the movie, but I kinda think director Quentin Tarantino should not have used it in this scene and at this moment. Once Pam Grier comes out of the dressing room, she begins rushing around and the audience has no idea why because we don’t know her plan. You could argue that the following arc shot adds to the audiences’ confusion, but for me, it was a major distraction and took me out of the movie. Instead of trying to focus more on what’s happening on the screen, the arc shot (which never ends, by the way – it’s easily the longest and fastest moving arc shot I’ve ever scene) just diverted my attention from the movie, which I was just watching and enjoying, to this thing, this film technique, and I become conscious of the fact that I was watching a film (which I had forgotten because I was mesmerized by the story), and I don’t think that’s a good thing. I got right back into it, so it’s not a grinding halt moment, but it’s about a minute or so where I stopped watching and started asking questions, which seems like a bad thing to do.

Does Jackie Brown’s plan make sense?
Sort of. Yes. Wait, no. I mean… OK, I think the idea here is that Jackie’s plan hinges around the cops catching Melanie (not specifically Melanie, that’s just who ends up being the person at the exchange) with the marked bills and not just Ordell, so her story is collaborated regarding the money being taken prior to the planned exchange. And that gets the cops off her back, but, she must also get the cops to kill Ordell so she can get away with the lion’s share of the money… I dunno, I guess it makes sense, it’s just convoluted. Right? I dunno. Just when I think I’m close to an answer, it slips away… it’s maddening, Dumbledore style.

SOMETHING I UNDERSTAND WITHOUT QUESTION: Samuel L. Jackson is awesome
You know it, I know it… here are some of my favorite lines as delivered by Mr. Jackson:

“AK-47. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitutes.”
“Well, I hope you felt appropriately guilty about it afterwards.”
“What the fuck happened to you, man? Your ass used to be beautiful.”
“This some repugnant shit!”
“You tell her I will name her ass as my accessory, and we’ll go upstate, hand in handcuffed motherfuckin’ hand.”

For all of my complaining, I really did like Jackie Brown. Sure, I have issues with the pacing, some of the directing choices and parts of the story, but ultimately, it’s a well performed movie with a satisfying ending. There’s just not enough Michael Keaton movies out there, you know? Anyway, I highly recommend Jackie Brown, and it might be the movie that turns non-Tarantino fans as it’s not especially bloody, but it does have it’s share of profanity… OK, maybe not. Anyway, I’m giving Jackie Brown 7.5 out of 10. If you’ve never seen it, definitely check it out.

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About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com, BomberBanter.com and editor in chief of ComicBookClog.com

Posted on June 10, 2014, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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