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Jackie Brown
Quentin Tarantino (USA 1997)

English text below.

Die in die Jahre gekommene Stewardess Jackie Brown arbeitet für eine Billig-Airline. Um ihr spärliches Gehalt aufzubessern, schmuggelt sie für den Waffenhändler Ordell Robbie Geld über die mexikanische Grenze. Als ihr die Polizei auf die Schliche kommt und sie als Lockvogel zur Überführung Robbies einsetzen will, plant Jackie beide Parteien zu überlisten, um selbst ans grosse Geld zu kommen.
Anders als in der Romanvorlage «Rum Punch» ist die Heldin keine weisse Blondine namens Jackie Burke; Tarantino änderte ihren Namen und ihre Ethnie, weil er Pam Grier, Star von Blaxploitation-Filmen wie Foxy Brown und Coffy, für die Idealbesetzung der lebensüberdrüssigen, aber cleveren, attraktiven und toughen Protagonistin hielt.
«Dieser Film beweist, dass Tarantino ein echtes Talent ist und nicht nur ein Zwei-Filme-Wunderkind. Jackie Brown ist keine Kopie seiner vorherigen Filme, sondern besticht durch einen neuen Stil und schwört die Magie von Elmore Leonards Vorlage herauf. In einer Sequenz diskutieren Robert De Niro und Bridget Fonda über ein Foto an der Wand, und es ist so perfekt geschrieben, getaktet und gespielt, dass ich spontan applaudierte. (…) Man geniesst jeden Moment von Jackie Brown. Wer sagt, der Film sei zu lang, hat eine kinematische Aufmerksamkeitsstörung. Ich wollte, dass die Figuren stundenlang reden, betrügen und intrigieren.» (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 24.12.1997)

«Jackie Brown is Quentin Tarantino’s overlooked masterwork. Perhaps that’s because the crime drama is much quieter compared to the films that preceded and followed it. Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction made Tarantino a rock star. Kill Bill, meanwhile, saw the filmmaker reinvent himself as an action director. Jackie Brown sits in the middle, overshadowed by his other works.
That said, Jackie Brown stands out from the pack. Based on Elmore Leonard’s ‹Rum Punch›, it’s the only Tarantino film that didn’t begin as one of his own ideas. No Tarantino adaptation was ever going to be entirely faithful to the source material, however, so it’s not surprising that Jackie Brown boasts some of his original ideas here and there.
The most notable change from the novel is the decision to make the central character a middle-aged woman of color and change her name. The original character goes by the name Jackie Burke, and she’s a blonde white woman.
Tarantino changed her origin because he felt Pam Grier was an ideal choice to portray a world-weary protagonist. However, she also had to be smart, confident, beautiful, fearless, and sympathetic. His decision paid off in a big way.
In the film, Grier plays the titular flight attendant who becomes caught up in some shady business. She’s a smuggler for a drug dealer named Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson) who will not hesitate to put a bullet in her if she crosses him. However, the feds know she’s his accomplice and force her to cooperate with them — or else.
Jackie isn’t willing to be anyone’s puppet, though. So instead of siding with the cops or the crooks, she decides to go into business for herself, aided by Max Cherry (Robert Forster), an aging bail bondsman who takes a liking to her. Together they devise a scheme that will see her walk away a free woman, with a big bag of money to call her own. (...)
Jackie is a heroine worth rooting for. As the authorities bluntly remind her, no employer wants to hire a middle-aged black woman with a criminal record. If she goes to prison, she’ll have nothing to look forward to. At the same time, she risks incurring the wrath of a vicious criminal if she doesn’t make a smart decision.
Still, Jackie remains composed in the face of pressure. She’s the smartest person in the room. Life has dealt her a shitty hand, but it’s not the end of the world. Her lousy situation ultimately empowers her, and we want her to succeed because she’s worked her ass off in and has little to show for it.
What makes Jackie relatable, though, are the characteristics that make her human. At some point, every single one of us has to deal with growing old, coupled with the feeling that our best years are behind us and all we have to look forward to going forward is mundane routine and a laundry list of regrets. Jackie exudes strength and weariness in equal measure. (...)
Jackie Brown takes place in a world of crime and danger that’s unfamiliar to most of us. But by populating it with characters whose thoughts and feelings are universally human, its reality doesn’t feel farfetched at all. I love Tarantino’s other movies more than I do most movies in general, but I’d love to see him return to the contemplative brilliance he showcased with Jackie Brown.» (Kieran Fisher, filmschoolrejects.com, July 25, 2019)

Drehbuch: Quentin Tarantino, nach dem Roman «Rum Punch» von Elmore Leonard
Kamera: Guillermo Navarro
Schnitt: Sally Menke

Mit: Pam Grier (Jackie Brown), Samuel L. Jackson (Ordell Robbie), Robert Forster (Max Cherry), Bridget Fonda (Melanie Ralston), Michael Keaton (Ray Nicolette), Robert De Niro (Louis Gara), Michael Bowen (Mark Dargus), Chris Tucker (Beaumont Livingston)

154 Min., Farbe, 35 mm, E/d/f


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