Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Pam Grier is the best reason to see Jackie Brown. To my shame, I’ve only seen two or three of her other films prior to watching this. Even with this limited data set, I conclude this is not a rarity nor a trend, but a law: Pam Grier is the best reason to see any movie she is in. As her prime acting years were in the ’70s, she starred in the only lead action roles available to black women: exploitation movies. Were she born a decade or two later, she’d have been a star, her name as recognizable as Sigourney Weaver’s.
In Jackie Brown, she plays the titular character, a stewardess caught by the ATF for smuggling money. Agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) is on the trail of gun runner Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson) who was to be the recipient of that smuggled cash. Ray has Jackie in a tight spot. She has a criminal record which is why she works at the lowest rent airport out there for $16,000/year (even in 1997, not much). Cooperate in busting Ordell and the ATF won’t bring the hammer down on her. On the other side, Robbie is on her case to keep quiet. He’s not above killing potential rats.
Jackie could give in to one side or the other and probably come out intact. She refuses to just skate by. She instead plays both sides, machinating to get her hands on a half million dollars Ordell has sitting in Mexico. I won’t go into the details of her plan as not to spoil the plot, but also because the mechanics of the plot aren’t ultimately what’s intriguing about the movie. Strangely for a crime thriller, the characters take precedence. You can imagine a movie about these people that is just as fascinating as this one that doesn’t involve any illicit activity.