Journal Entry

Unlike some other of Quentin Tarantino’s films, Jackie Brown, is a moody, atmospheric, character driven, and leisurely slice of south-central Los Angeles at the end of the 1990’s.  While Resevoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction might have led audiences to expect Tarantino’s by then editorial and expositional experimentation and hyper violence mixed with un-looked for comedy, Jackie Brown has a slower more linear plot (until the set-piece near the end) and remains quite faithful to its source material, Elmore Leonard’s pulp novel, Rum Punch. Still, with the over-the-top performance by Samuel L. Jackson, as Ordell Robbie, balanced as it is by the more subtle turns by Pam Grier (as the titular Jackie Brown) and Robert Forster (as bail-bondsman Max Cherry), there is no doubt that this is a Tarrantino film.  And while some critics faulted it for its length, the film succeeds in establishing a slow pace that allows even the minor characters (such as Beaumont, Melanie, and Louis) to reveal depth that might have been lost in another film.  The music also plays a powerful role in establishing the milieu of the film–harkening back to the “Blaxploitation” films of the 1970’s for which Jackie Brown is surely an homage and which made Pam Grier, among genre lovers, a household name. What kind of story is Jackie Brown?. How does the film surprise its audience?  It can be argued that all of the minor characters are stereotypes (even negative stereotypes), so how does Tarantino manage to offer up its two main characters –Jackie Brown and Max Cherry–as the antitheses of stereotypes?  The “Blaxploitation” films of the 1970’s traded in stock types, 2-dimensional characters, over-the-top violence, and campy action and humor, and low-budget production values–How does Tarantino honor the genre while at the same time offering a film that, in the end, becomes nearly the opposite (in those terms) of the genre it honors?  What are its most surprising plot twists and characterizations?  How does the film’s characterization of its main characters succeed? This journal entry should be between 750-1000 words in length and is worth 50 points.  You are encouraged to read the film review, https://variety.com/1997/film/reviews/jackie-brown-1117340009/  and to incorporate some of its insights and observations into your entry.  Given the length here, you should write this entry in a multi-paragraph format–more like an essay with a beginning, a middle, and an end (but you may end up with more than 3 paragraphs).  Choose your examples from the film wisely and explain their meaning thoroughly.  You might do well to look up “Blaxploitation” (or “Blacksploitation”) films as a genre to inform your understanding of Jackie Brown.  You are free to cite any other sources you find on the subject–but make sure to mention the source/author in the sentences where you discuss them.

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