A pretty faithful adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch, Tarantino's finest, most mature movie to date centres on airline steward Jackie (Grier), picked up by the Feds at LAX with cash and drugs destined for gun trader Ordell (Jackson). Reluctant to do time and aware that Ordell tends to murder anyone he suspects might turn informer, she decides to play cops and criminals - not only Ordell, but his former cellmate Louis (De Niro) and pothead girlfriend Melanie (Fonda) - against each other, confiding only in Max (Forster), the world-weary bail bondsman Ordell hired to get her out of jail in the first place. What's immediately rewarding is that Tarantino forgoes flash patter, stand-offs and stylistic flourishes in favour of a closer focus on character (women included), relationships, motives and mood. Also crucial to our actually coming to care about these people is the terrific acting (Grier and Forster make you wonder where they've been all these years). But perhaps most surprising and welcome is that this is a subtle poignant account of middle-aged people trying to come to terms with failing faculties, fading looks, diminishing options and a need to make their lives count somehow.
|Release date:||Thursday December 25 1997|
Cast and crew
Lisa Gay Hamilton
Robert De Niro
Samuel L Jackson