Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1997. Miramax, A Band Apart, Mighty Mighty Afrodite Productions. Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, based on the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard. Cinematography by Guillermo Navarro. Produced by Lawrence Bender. Production Design by David Wasco. Costume Design by Mary Claire Hannan. Film Editing by Sally Menke.
What Quentin Tarantino promised in Pulp Fiction he delivers even more of in this marvelous dark comedy adapted from the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard. Relying more on story and character than the glamorously violent punches of his previous film, Tarantino has matured greatly as a filmmaker in the three years between films and now tells his story with more confidence and strength than he has previously shown. He’s also responsible for the rebirth of the career of one of cinema’s great B-movie queens, the gorgeous Pam Grier, and here she’s the tops as an airline stewardess who increases her income by running money across borders for a hood (Samuel L. Jackson) until she gets busted by the cops. They offer her a deal to help bring the bad guys down and avoid going to prison herself, but she wonders if maybe it might be more fun to play both sides of the operation at the same time and come out the victor herself. With the help of a bail bondsman who is in love with her (a brilliant Robert Forster) she just might pull it off. Fantastic work, and along with Out of Sight the best adaptation of a Leonard novel.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Robert Forster)
Berlin Film Festival Award: Best Actor (Samuel L. Jackson)
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Samuel L. Jackson); Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Pam Grier)