While Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are the more well known films of Quentin Tarantino's early career, there's one film that has always seemed to languish in the shadows: Jackie Brown. An adaptation of Elmore Leonard's book, Rum Punch, the movie stands as one of the deeper cuts of the Tarantino filmography, and it has one of the most open ended finales in that same canon. Interestingly enough, it's an ending that the film's star, Pam Grier, believes could have used some alteration. For starters, here's how Grier would have ended the story:
Now for context, the ending that Jackie Brown went with goes a little something like this: Jackie and her male companion, Robert Forster's bail bondsman Max Cherry, survive the events of the film's dangerously criminal activity. With a whole lot of money and the previous drug charges against her dropped, Jackie's free to live her life the way she wants. And what she wants to do at the end of the film is head off to Madrid, with Max in tow. Max unfortunately rejects her, they kiss and then she leaves, with Max turning to answer his phone. But in the middle of a call, it seems as if Max starts to give Spain another thought, which is where the film ends.
What prompted Pam Grier to tell Variety about her new ending to Jackie Brown was the fact that despite having a source novel to adapt from, Quentin Tarantino owned up to not knowing how the film should end. So not only does the open ended-ness of the conclusion now make sense, it also makes sense why Grier would come up with an alternate scenario. The character of Jackie, if she even saw the slightest hesitation in Max, would have somehow lured him into leaving with her. And if he turned out to be the bothersome man that she lays out in the alternate ending above, she wouldn't have hesitated to leave him somewhere to make his own way in the world.
It's always interesting to revisit an ending to a film as storied as Jackie Brown. Not everyone's seen it, but those who have may remember just how and why it's one of Tarantino's finest. Time will tell where that film rests on the continuum of the director's work, as he's just two films away from his self-imposed retirement deadline. The ninth film of his proposed 10 film-run is currently mounting production at Sony, with it scheduled for release on August 9, 2019.
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