Jackie Brown (1997) Film Review


Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a flight attendant who does some casual smuggling of cash for dodgy dude Ordell Robbie (Samuel L Jackson). Then she gets stopped by the feds, and ends up working with Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) for the big bust. Along the way, she ends up being bailed out of jail by bail bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster), a man contemplating his future. And there’s also recently released from prison dodgy dude Louis Gara (Robert De Niro) and Robbie’s white girlfriend (to differentiate her from the others), Melanie (Bridget Fonda).

It’s okay. No, it is far better than okay, but it’s not super amazing. It has many of the things we expect from Tarantino – playing with time, a kick-arse soundtrack, a bunch of great actors and violence. But it just didn’t quite do it for me. It seemed… shallow. I think it was that, apart from Max Cherry, we don’t really see more than a façade for any of the characters; we don’t really get what they are about. Even Jackie Brown just comes across as a stylish woman who wants more.

Jackie Brown was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Robert Forster)

Unbreakable (2000) Film Review


M. Night Shyamalan gained a reputation after the huge success of The Sixth Sense for being the master of the sudden and unexpected twist. I remember seeing Unbreakable after absolutely loving and being blown away by The Sixth Sense. It seemed so contrived and over-the-top, and I felt annoyed with it. But, teaching Media Studies many years later, I was looking for something to pair with The Dark Knight, and decided to give Unbreakable a go. There were some similarities; connections with comic book heroes and the struggle of a man with the challenges of his life.

Unbreakable follows David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a man who is the only survivor of train collision. In the days after he leaves the hospital, he is contacted several times by Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a man who was born with Type 1 osteogenesis imperfecta, an extremely rare disease that causes his bones to break very easily. Elijah believes that Dunn is the opposite of him, a man who is unbreakable. A man who is destined to be a real life superhero.

Watching it again, I found that is an extremely well-crafted film. Somehow, despite being a very strange and unbelievable premise, it felt very real. Still, there was absolutely something that I did not like about it. I think it is that the way the film is put together it is very obvious that the director wanted me to experience certain emotions at certain times. I expect that this is the case of most films, or at least most dramas. Yet, if it is so obvious that I am expected to feel this way, I feel like I have been tricked. I do like the film, however I do feel that I was being tricked into responses that, in turn, I rejected.