Tarantino's Most Underrated Movie is Finally on Netflix in January 2024
It's quintessentially Quentin, but somehow slipped under the radar.
- It's never the first Tarantino movie that comes to mind.
- Rotten Tomatoes ranks it alongside some of the director's best known films.
- It's everything you want in a Tarantino movie.
- A box office success, but not without controversy.
Don’t let it pass you by
When you think of Quentin Tarantino movies, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill probably come to mind. But in between those two films, he made Jackie Brown in 1997.
It's a film that seems to have got lost in time. But don't let that fool you into thinking it's a bad film that's not worth watching.
Up there with some Tarantino classics
Jackie Brown has a Tomatometer score of 88%, meaning that critics rank it higher than both volumes of Kill Bill and Django Unchained. Its audience rating is only slightly lower at 85%, which still puts it right up there with those films and with Inglorious Basterds. Okay, so it may not quite reach the dizzying heights of Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, both of which score over 90% in both rankings. But those are two of the best movies ever made.
All the hallmarks of a Tarantino movie
When you put on a Tarantino film, you know exactly what you're going to get. Intrigue, plot twists and graphic violence mixed with wit.
Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a flight attendant smuggling money for arms dealer Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson ). When she's arrested and asked to become an informant to help bring Ordell Robbie down, her life is on the line. But it's also a chance to get rich and finally escape the life she's been living.
But it won't be as easy as it first seems.
A box office success?
The film grossed $74.7 million against a budget of $12 million, and that's not a bad return – especially for a film that didn't really fly. But why didn't it make the same splash as other Tarantino projects?
The answer is actually quite simple: 1997 was a particularly fruitful year in terms of blockbuster releases. The first and most obvious example of this is Titanic. With a budget of $200 million, it was always going to be the iceberg that sank the competition. Other hits of the year included Tomorrow Never Dies (Bond is always great), Men in Black (with Will Smith at the height of his powers) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park (a long-awaited sequel).
When you take these into account, you begin to realise that Jackie Brown's lack of status in the Tarantino filmography may be nothing more than unfortunate timing.
Quentin Tarantino is not afraid of controversy. His focus is solely on delivering a movie that he believes is the best it can be. But when Jackie Brown was released, it came under fire for what some argued was an overuse of the n-word. Fellow filmmaker Spike Lee was one of those who spoke out publicly.
The word is used 38 times in the film and is something viewers should be aware of before watching. It's worth noting that the same word is used more often in both Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight. If that doesn't bother you and you're a fan of Tarantino's work, you're bound to enjoy this movie.