Wednesday, 27 March 2013
Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Jackie Brown
Unrelenting deadlines mean that recently I have ended up submitting my articles for Nathaniel’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot much too late and usually I feel indebted to write at least a few paragraphs on the film and my favourite shot in question which adds to the lateness. I suspect, though, Tarantino being so lauded a filmmaker other Hit Me participants will pick up the baton in waxing on about his merits so I don’t feel do badly about a particularly short entry this week.
And, maybe, in a way this is not accidental since the eponymous Jackie Brown – lead of her film and all – is a woman who doesn’t speak much for the first third of her film. Even when Grier is sultrily spouting off dialogue Jackie is still giving off a palpable suggestion that she’d much prefer to be left alone to her devices. Or at least a cigarette. It’s why my best shot dissertation is essentially a send-up to Grier’s excellent glares of consternation. I don’t mean to suggest that the film’s photography (Guillermo Navarro) is nothing to sing about but in considering a “best” shot my favourite entries had less to do with aesthetics of cinematography and more to do with Pam Grier overwhelming the screen.
In that tautly unfolding interrogation scene where Jackie is about to be arrested Grier is as cool as a cucumber displaying little sign of uneasiness – more relaxed than her interrogators.
It’s an expression which is echoed later in her expression during a conversation at a bar with her bail bondsman and later in her second scene with the not so good policemen.
These are but three exhibits of one of my favourite aspects of the film – Jackie Brown has just about had it with your nonsense. She’s not interested in suffering fools gladly, even when her back is seemingly against the wall. The camera loves Grier’s face. And why shouldn’t it? She uses it excellently.
It’s why this is my favourite shot.
Max Cherry may want to make polite small talk, but Jackie just wants to get home to watch the jail off of herself. We get her excellent glare but from the side, and the camera is so tight on her every in the background becomes extraneous. It’s like the entire film for me, really. There are various good, some even great, aspects of Jackie Brown but ultimately – for me – it all boils down to Pam Grier and her face.
Head over to Nathaniel’s for other pieces on Jackie Brown.