Jackie Brown (1997) Ending Explained – What happened to Ordell’s money?


Jackie Brown Plot Summary

Jackie Brown is a crime thriller directed by Quentin Tarantino and released in 1997. It’s based on Leonard’s novel “Rum Punch” and features a stellar cast, including Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, and Michael Keaton. The plot centers around Jackie Brown (played by Pam Grier), a 40-something flight attendant who becomes embroiled in arms smuggling, money laundering, and double-crosses.

When authorities discover Jackie’s involvement in supplying arms dealer Ordell Robbie with money, she puts on a performance to outwit Ordell and the authorities, using their misconceptions against them. As Jackie becomes entangled in the gang’s criminal activities, she starts working with the local bail bondsman, Max Cherry (played by Robert Forster). She also forms a close bond with an ex-convict named Louis Gara (played by Robert De Niro). 

Why do the police arrest Jackie?

Jackie is a middle-aged flight attendant employed by a small airline. She is depicted as resourceful and resilient, capable of overcoming challenges. Jackie is arrested by the police after being found in possession of a large sum of money.

Ordell becomes suspicious of Jackie when he learns that one of his associates is in trouble with the law and suspects that she may be cooperating with law enforcement. The movie suggests that Jackie has a criminal history, as she has been working in the airline industry for 19 years yet still struggles financially, hinting at a possible criminal record.

Additionally, the film implies that Jackie may be facing financial difficulties or other challenges, as she is involved in smuggling money from Mexico to the US for the Mafia’s Ordell.

What is the deal between Ordell and Jackie?

After Jackie is arrested, she strikes a deal with the police. In exchange for leniency and immunity from prosecution, Jackie agrees to cooperate with the authorities in bringing down Ordell and his criminal operation. However, she faces the challenge of convincing Ordell that she is still loyal to him while secretly working against him.

Jackie devises a plan to trick Ordell by pretending to be the fall guy for the money smuggling operation and willingly accepting a lengthy jail sentence. This plan is aimed at tricking Ordell into revealing the location of the money. However, Jackie also invents a cunning scheme to secretly keep the money for herself and outsmart both Ordell and the authorities.

Jackie plans to bail out her husband using the bond money, but first, she needs the help of Max Cherry, a bail bondsman. Forming a partnership with Max in the crime-ridden world is risky for both of them. Together, they design a plan that involves bag boots and Johnny helping Jackie walk off with most of the money.

What happens to Ordell?

Throughout the movie, Jackie devises a convoluted plan to outsmart the police, eliminate Ordell, and become wealthy. Staying one step ahead of the police is her top priority. She becomes a confidential informant, providing the police with information to stop Ordell’s illegal activities while pretending to be involved.

Through her inquiries, she subtly reveals significant information to the police, helping them build a case against Ordell while only slightly implicating herself. At the same time, Jackie earns Ordell’s trust, although she knows he’s not entirely convinced of her loyalty. She divides the money and cleverly sets up Melanie, one of Ordell’s associates, to take the fall.

She splits the money into smaller portions and ensures she gets the larger share. However, in the climax, Ordell accuses Jackie of taking most of the money during their smuggling operation. He believes Jackie is scared and expects her to give in. His main concern is retrieving the money.

Jackie reveals that she didn’t just sit idly by and has made sure that he’ll be arrested. Ordell threatens Jackie, but Max, an A.T.F. officer, appears and kills Ordell in self-defence.

What happened to Ordell’s money?

Whether working as an undercover informant for the police or making plans to eliminate Ordell, Jackie has been constantly engaged in a series of manoeuvres throughout the movie. Only Jackie and Ordell knew the exact amount of money to be brought from Mexico. However, Jackie told the police that she didn’t know how much money to obtain.

So, Jackie decided to split the money, keeping $50,000 for herself and giving the remaining half million dollars to Ordell. However, she only handed over $50,000 to Ordell while Max escorts the rest of the money. With the help of her friend and admirer, Max Cherry, a bail bondsman, she ensured that all the money would be in her possession by the end of the day.

Towards the end, Jackie carefully lures Ordell to Cherry’s office and hands him over to the police. This guarantees Jackie both legal immunity and protection. When Ordell aims his gun at Jackie, Max shoots him, ending his life. So, in the end, Jackie successfully evades both Ordell and the police, all while securing a large sum of money

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