Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on August 31st, 2002
Pam Grier, in a superb performance that sadly did not revitalize her career to the same degree as happened with co-star Robert Forster (and with John Travolta in Pulp Fiction), plays a flight attendant who is being used as a pawn by both bad guy Samuel L. Jackson and FBI guy Michael Keaton. Grier, with the help of bail bondsman Forster, sets up an elaborate counterattack. While Jackie Brown lacks the propulsive intensity of Reservoir Dogs, and Tarantino’s reliance on 70s-dominated soundtracks is getting annoying, the…writing is still very strong, Tarantino gets ace performances out of his cast, and the climax is a rather striking piece of bravura filmmaking.
The sound is superb. The mix is very strong, more powerful than average, and this shows off the soundtrack to full advantage (though thankfully never drowning out the vintage dialogue). Though the music has pride of place, the sound effects haven’t been neglected. Some nice environment work abounds, particularly in the airport scenes.
Absolutely spiffing colours, and some of the best, most accurate flesh tones I’ve seen. The very slight grain I caught now and then seems more likely due to the fact that the sharpness of the image renders the grain of the film stock visible than to anything else. Nice job, presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen.
The menu here is very nice — fully animated and scored. And here’s something else I love about it: no transitions. I know, I know, many people love the snazzy transitions from page to page, but after the first couple of times, the novelty wears off and they get annoying. Here, you make a selection, and boom, the next page sets up with a minimum of fuss, but elegantly all the same.
Disc 1 features a semi-pointless introduction from Tarantino (though the tone fits in with his more elaborate interventions on Disc 2). You can search soundtrack chapter divisions as well as the regular scene-based ones, which is a cute touch. There is no commentary track, but there is an elaborate trivia track, which functions as the print equivalent to commentary, and, frankly, is a lot more informative than yet another “gee we had such a wonderful time doing this movie” gab fest. Disc 2 is where most of the features live. “How It Went Down” is a documentary divided into 10 chapters, and is really no more than an extended featurette. Put this down to promotional material, along with the MTV bits (a contest and an appearance by Tarantino & co. on MTV Live). “A Look Back at Jackie Brown” is an interview with Tarantino, and is considerably more interesting. Good fun is to be had with the complete “Chicks Who Love Guns” video â€“ you know you wanted this thing to be for real. There are six alternate and deleted scenes, the package being introduced by Tarantino, and including a hilarious alternate credit sequence. There are three teasers, eight TV spots, twelve trailers for Robert Forster films, nineteen for Grier pics, and seven radio spots for Grier movies. And there’s more: Siskel and Ebert’s review of the film; production notes (including a message from Elmore Leonard); nine still galleries, including posters for Grier and Forster movies; ten reviews (such as the one from the Village Voice); eight articles (including one from the Cahiers du Cinema); and filmographies for Grier, Forster and Tarantino. And then there’s the DVD-ROM extras, such as a screenplay viewer.
Tons of features, some better than others, but most working toward a deeper appreciation of the film and its exploitation ancestors. The lack of commentary is hardly noticed at all, and the transfer is first-rate.
Special Features List
- Trivia Track
- “How It Went Down” Documentary
- “Looking Back at Jackie Brown” Interview
- Still Galleries
- Reviews and Articles
- Trailers and TV Spots
- Chicks Who Love Guns Video
- Deleted and Alternate Scenes
- Siskel and Ebert “At the Movies” Review
- MTV Promotions
- Pam Grier and Robert Forster Movie Trailers
- DVD-ROM Features