Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jackie Brown

Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a flight attendant for a small Mexican airline, the latest step down for her career in the airline industry. Despite the low pay, the job enables her to smuggle money from Mexico into the United States for Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), a gun runner under the close eye of the ATF.
Early in the film, Robbie learns that another of his workers, Beaumont Livingston (Chris Tucker), has been arrested and, fearing that he will talk to authorities in order to avoid jail time, Robbie arranges for Livingston’s bail and shoots him. Acting on information Livingston had indeed shared, ATF agents Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) and Mark Dargus (Michael Bowen) both catch Brown as she arrives in the US with Robbie’s cash. She initially refuses to deal with Nicolette and Dargus and is sent to jail pending trial.

Robbie, sensing Brown may be just as likely to inform as Livingston had been, arranges to bail her out. He returns to Max Cherry (Robert Forster), the same bail bondsman he used to arrange Livingston’s release, to bail out Brown. Cherry arranges for Brown’s bail and, only partly masking his physical attraction, offers to help her determine her legal options. Later that night, Robbie shows up at Brown’s house, presumably to eliminate her, but using a gun she stole from Cherry, she cuts a deal whereby she will pretend to help the authorities while still managing to smuggle $500,000 of Robbie’s money.

To carry out this plan, Robbie employs several others, a woman he lives with, Melanie Ralston (Bridget Fonda), his former cellmate who befriends Ralston, Louis Gara (Robert De Niro), and a na├»ve Southern girl, Sheronda (Lisa Gay Hamilton). With Brown’s help, Nicolette arranges a sting to catch Robbie, though Brown and Robbie plan to double cross him by diverting the actual money before Nicolette makes an arrest.

Unbeknownst to Nicolette or Robbie, Brown plans to deceive them both with the help of Cherry in order to keep the $500,000 for herself. After a dry run, during which Nicolette could observe the operation, the stage is set for the actual event. Set in an LA mall, Brown stops in a dressing room before the official exchange to swap bags with Ralston and Gara, supposedly passing off the $500,000 under Nicolette’s nose, but in fact only giving Ralston $50,000 and leaving the rest behind in the dressing room for Cherry to later pick up. Brown then feigns despair as she calls Nicolette out from hiding and claims Ralston took all the money and ran.

Though angered, Nicolette leaves assuming Robbie has escaped with the money through little fault of Brown’s. Ralston grows on Gara’s nerves, leading him to shoot her while making his escape. When Robbie later discovers that Gara has only delivered $50,000, he shoots Gara and determines that Brown had his money. Cherry and Brown ultimately lure Robbie back to Cherry’s office to claim his money, but Robbie is shot by Nicolette who was hidden in the office. The movie ends with Cherry declining Brown’s invitation to join her as she leaves the country with Robbie’s money.

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