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May 06, 2009


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Tom Russell

Actually, if I'm not mistaken, the character in Leonard's RUM PUNCH was named Jackie Burke; the Jackie Brown surname was a Tarantino addition, likely in reference in equal parts to both EDDIE COYLE and FOXY BROWN.


There was only this one. It's a shame this didn't catch on back in 1973; we could have used more films like it.

John Merrill

I'm thinking about "The Yakuza" another Mitchum - Jordan movie -- also underrated.


Love this film, love the novel. Higgins seems to be not too well-known these days, I guess probably because his stuff is generally so dire, but he was one of the best -- "Defending Billy Ryan" is another great look at corruption. I've actually only read a few of his books, though, so I'd better start burning through the rest.

And I'm also a big fan of "The Yakuza", John. Always been a favorite, and I don't get why it's not thought of more highly. A gritty 70s crime film, mixed with a Samurai movie. What's not to like?

unreliable narrator

Holy Crawford—that's the most elegant frickin' wire hanger I've ever seen.

The First Bill C

Pissed that this and WISE BLOOD didn't merit a Blu-ray release.

John M

Wow, this sounds fantastic. I'm gonna queue it up now.

Matt Zoller Seitz

Great call on the wire hanger, Glenn. Observations like that are a big reason why I enjoy your stuff so much.

Bill Weber

Glenn, I recently read the novel, and the Boyle pigeon speech is in there (though the filmmakers moved it to the last scene).

Glenn Kenny

@Bill Weber: Damn. You know, I wondered about that, and before I posted, I scanned the novel looking for it and didn't find it, and stupidly came to my conclusion. I need to look again now. I will say right now, with some confidence, that as placed by Higgins, its metaphorical weight isn't quite so heavy.

Tom Russell

While I know this thread is dead and gone (four months being a decade in blog-years), I did want to say that my wife and I just saw the film last night-- me for the first time, her for the first time since its theatrical run-- and it really is an impressive, understated picture.

(SPOILER) I especially like the way Coyle's last scene is handled-- it denies any visceral sense of closure. That's something that's done throughout the film, something that's helped by its somewhat digressive structure-- i.e., it's pretty damn democratic in who it follows where and when; Coyle might be the title character, but he's no more the main character than Jackie Brown, the cop, the bank robbers, even Peter Boyle's character. When Coyle meets his fate, it's not given any more emphasis than when Brown gets arrested, or when the bank robbers get caught. I also like how when Peter Boyle's duplicity is revealed, it's not really a revelation at all but a confirmation of what we already knew-- denying catharsis for something quieter and more unnerving. (/SPOILER)

I could be mistaken, as it's been quite a few years, but I think Yates took a similar off-hand, democratic-ensemble approach to MOTHER, JUGS, AND SPEED and BREAKING AWAY. Am I right, or am I just imagining things?

Tom Russell

Re-reading my last bit, I realize that I might have been unclear in my phrasing. What I meant to say was, if I recall correctly, MOTHER, JUGS, AND SPEED and BREAKING AWAY also had a digressive structural quality to them that made their various characters "co-leads" without feeling quite as aimless/over-reaching as a lot of ensemble pieces do. And by off-hand I meant that there wasn't a lot of directorial stylistic heightening-- I wasn't talking about the performances, which are quite a bit broader (yet still convincing) than those in Coyle. And what I meant to ask was, since it's been a few years since I saw either of those films, am I remembering correctly or am I full of shit?

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