Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
  1. 100
    You savor every moment of Jackie Brown. Those who say it is too long have developed cinematic attention deficit disorder. I wanted these characters to live, talk, deceive and scheme for hours and hours.
  2. 90
    The most exciting thing about Jackie Brown is the director's seamless transition to a less flashy, revealing style; it's well-suited to the more character-oriented focus of the film... an assured, accomplished, and very good film.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Filled with funny, gritty Tarantino lowlife gab and a respectable body count, but what is most striking is the film's gallantry and sweetness. Tarantino hits some new and touching notes with Grier and Forster.
  4. The film occasionally drags -- a money transfer scene set in a department store lasts longer than several geologic epochs -- but it's so funny and the plot twists are so sudden and violent it's great fun.
  5. 78
    It's a straight-ahead caper flick, very cool, and very, very Seventies (although it takes place in 1995), from production and costume design on down to the soundtrack.
  6. Its greatest assets are imaginative camera work and top-flight performances from Pam Grier as the heroine, Samuel L. Jackson as the deadly boyfriend, and Robert Forster as the bail-bondsman who falls battily in love with her.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Between Jackson's opining and De Niro's hopeless alibis when he messes up, Jackie is good for a bundle of bloody ho-ho-hos.
  8. 75
    Tarantino keeps things moving along nicely, with a heavier dose of humor and less violence than in Pulp Fiction, but, on the whole, this movie seems more like the work of one of his wannabes than something from the director himself.
  9. Happily, the climax races to our rescue... Beyond the grasp of most directors, this is tour de force stuff -- definitely meriting the price of admission and almost worth the three-year wait.
  10. Each scene is staged methodically, overdeliberately, as if it concealed some payoff zinger. But the zingers don't arrive. All we see is a reasonably clever Elmore Leonard caper that needed to be treated as fast, trashy fun.
  11. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    Quentin actually made a REAL movie, with believable characters and performances, rather than just repositories for clever dialog.
  12. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Unquestionably too long, and lacking the snap and audaciousness of the pictures that made him the talk of the town, this narratively faithful but conceptually imaginative adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel "Rum Punch" nonetheless offers an abundance of pleasures, especially in the realm of characterization and atmosphere.
  13. Tarantino puts together a fairly intricate and relatively uninvolving money-smuggling plot, but his cast is so good that you probably won’t feel cheated unless you’re hoping for something as show-offy as "Reservoir Dogs" or "Pulp Fiction."
  14. 60
    The giddy, "anything could happen" sense that made "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs" so viscerally exciting is missing here. But Tarantino's first picture in nearly three years is a faithful adaptation of Elmore Leonard's "Rum Punch," and its melancholy edge is a wistful delight.
  15. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Not revolutionary or even evolutionary but enormously .... methodical. Working from an Elmore Leonard novel, Tarantino has created a gangster fiction that is never larger than life and sometimes smaller.
  16. A raunchy doodle, a leisurely and easygoing diversion that goes down easy enough but is far from compelling.
  17. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    At 2 1/2 hours, it all plays like the rough assembly of a 90-min. caper film--an anecdote told at epic length. Grier, foxy lady of '70s blaxploitation, is given little chance to radiate. [22 Dec 1997, p.80]
  18. The slow pace kills the sense of urgency, and the length and breadth of the film makes the story seem insignificant. Tarantino is still someone to watch, but Jackie Brown, before it's over, becomes a who-cares proposition.
  19. 50
    If Jackie Brown lost 45 minutes, it might have been a snazzy entertainment. As it is, it wears out its welcome well before the end.
  20. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Except for a few of his trademark time-sequence zig-zags, Tarantino's storytelling is boringly linear. At a running time of two hours and 35 minutes, it often feels like we're slogging through a B-movie that got too big for its sprockets.
  21. But for all its enthusiasm, this film isn't sharp enough to afford all the time it wastes on small talk, long drives, trips to the mall and favorite songs played on car radios.
  22. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    This is ho-hum, straight-to-video material. And yet, even at its most crawlingly linear, Jackie Brown is diverting. If nothing else, I was diverted by the director's gall at stretching out those vacuous scenes.
  23. It's the flat, self-exposing dud that fate often keeps in store for the initially overpraised. [26 Jan 1998, p.24]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 155 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. May 26, 2011
    I agree that this is a vastly underrated movie and as Roger Ebert asserts, anyone who complains that it is too long has developed cinematic ADD. Beautifully written and developed characters, suspense, believable but amazing turns and twists throughout. It is just more subtle than Reservoir Dogs and less manic than Pulp Fiction. Pam Grier is a real woman, and this is a great movie. Full Review »
  2. JamesM.
    Dec 20, 2005
    Only these words, written by Roger Ebert, can accurately describe how I feel about this film (and many other films too): Those who say it is too long have developed cinematic attention deficit disorder. How on earth you could call this masterpiece of writing, directing and acting overlong and boring I have no idea. Did you have too much red cordial before seeing the movie. Sometimes audiences have no idea what they're talking about, see The Green Mile, but in this case the people are right and the critics are just plain stupid. Full Review »
  3. JonL
    Aug 16, 2007
    I can certainly see what Tarantino wanted to do--explore the characters, but these characters are so incredibly mundane that it's just painful at 160 minutes. I think Tarantino realized this and just padded it out, which is why every shot in the movie is held to an absurdity, which probably made it impossible to edit to something reasonable given the lack of weight in the material. The characters are boring rehashes (a waste of great talent), the dialogue Tarantino has so much obvious talent for is mediocre and the film is a good hour too long (maybe even more). What a shame. Full Review »