Jackie Brown

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Details At A Glance

Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - Dolby Digital Egypt
Year Released 1997 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
148:12 minutes
(not 154 as per cover)
Other Extras Cast Biographies
Menu Animation & Sound
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (94:44)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 4 Director Quentin Tarantino

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Pam Grier
Samuel L. Jackson
Robert Forster
Bridget Fonda
Michael Keaton
Robert De Niro
RRP $34.95 Music  

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG 2.0 
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
English (MPEG 2.0 )
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes
Subtitles None Smoking Yes 

Plot Synopsis

    Jackie Brown was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Based on his previous work, you would expect this movie to be extremely violent and to be full of cussing. Violent it is, but in a subtle, off-screen way. Swearing it has, in extremely copious quantities.

    Jackie Brown is 44, and a lowly-paid airline stewardess for a Mexican airline. She is also a money courier for a small arms dealer by the unlikely name of Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson). Jackie is busted for carrying $50,000 in cash into the country by a miscast Michael Keaton as an ATF officer, and she agrees to assist the police with their efforts to bust Ordell. At least that what she says to them. You see, Ordell has $500,000 stashed away in Mexico, and Jackie has a plan which would see her pocket the cash, and escape from her current life, with the help of Max Cherry (Robert Forster). But will the audacious plan work out?

    Jackie Brown is a film which grew on me as it went on. Initially, I was very bored and I thought there was too much of the characters sitting around aimlessly chatting and not enough advancement of the plot, but things picked up in the latter half of the movie. This is helped immensely by the very strong Pam Grier as Jackie Brown, who manages to garner a great deal of sympathy towards her cause, even though technically she is the villain of the piece.

    Jackie Brown also has several trademark tools of the Quentin Tarantino school of filmmaking; in particular one sequence is shown three times, from three different perspectives, a favourite technique of his.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie, whilst not being perfect, is basically pretty good.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is clear and sharp. Shadow detail was variable, and ranged from very good to virtually no detail at all. Because of the variability, I concluded that this was the way the film was shot. There was no low level noise.

    The colours were vividly rendered, with very strong reds in particular standing out. There was no colour bleeding, and once again, I conclude that this is the way the film was shot.

    There were no MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some mild aliasing variably thoughout the movie, though this was never particularly intrusive. Film artefacts were scattered throughout the transfer - more so than I am used to seeing with contemporary transfers, but nonetheless not particularly distracting.

    This transfer is presented on an RSDL disc, with the layer change at 94:44, which is at the transition between Chapters 19 and 20. Unlike the completely seamless layer change on Blade, this is the worst layer change I have seen to date, even worse than the very bad layer change on Donnie Brasco. The total time to negotiate the layer change is approximately 6 seconds, with a fade to black preceding the layer change, the layer change itself, and then a fade up from black. It is very disruptive when it occurs, and is a major disappointment. Nonetheless, it is clearly better than having to get up and turn the disc over.

    The running time of this movie is 148:12 minutes, not 154 minutes as claimed on the packaging.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default is English Dolby Digital 5.1. There is also an English MPEG 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack present on this disc. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    The dialogue was a little hard to hear at times, which is as much the fault of the accents and the style of dialogue, but was usually easy to make out.

    There were scattered audio sync problems here and there, which I attributed to sloppy ADR work. In particular, between 72:10-73:04, Samuel L. Jackson's dialogue is out of sync even though Robert De Niro's dialogue in the same scene is in sync. Also, Chapter 24 is out of sync, which is a sequence where Jackie Brown is being interrogated by Michael Keaton.

    The music consisted of a number of great funk tunes which added superbly to the overall atmosphere of the movie. Indeed, the only song which was not in this mold was the first song over the end credits, which sounded very Pulp Fictionesque, and sounded very out of place.

    The surround channels had music present in them, and very little else. The soundstage of this movie was basically up front, with little opportunity for envelopment.

    The subwoofer carried the bottom end of the music and the occasional gunshot but was otherwise silent.


    A limited selection of extras are present, but what is there is presented very nicely indeed. The movie is preceded by the Dolby Digital Egypt trailer, 16x9 enhanced and with 5.1 sound.

What's Missing / What's Extra

    This disc is not available in Region 1, and when it is released, being a Buena Vista title, it is likely to be non-16x9 enhanced and featureless.


    The menu design is themed appropriately, and carried PCM audio and animation throughout the entire menu structure. The only thing missing from this is actual scene animation. It is certainly the best menu design to date for a Roadshow Home Entertainment disc, which bodes well for the future.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is acceptably presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Cast Biographies

    A good number of well laid out and detailed biographies are present on this disc, though there is no biography of the director as stated on the packaging.


    Jackie Brown is a movie which will grow on you.

    The video quality is pretty good.

    The audio quality is unremarkable.

    The extras are acceptable.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
26th June 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer