By Deborah Small
World-class artwork and poetry at the colonization of the Americas.
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Additional resources for 1492: What Is It Like to Be Discovered?
But unlike them, he is not the head of a substantial organisation. He is an apparently successful middleman in a world of arms dealing that extends beyond his knowledge or reach and is personified in the Mr Big, called here Mr Wilson, who is on the end of a telephone line but who we never see. Where Joe and Marcellus have their operations, Ordell has one young operative, Beaumont (Chris Rock), and at the point at which the narrative of Jackie Brown opens is just initiating an old partner, Louis Gara (Robert De Niro), four days out of jail, into the arms business.
Rather the opposite: the assumptions and conditions that underlie his behaviour are inaccessible to him, and this will prove crucial to his fate in the film, as I shall be going on to argue. Ordell at home: the beach house All of the sequences that I have discussed so far are already operating in contrast to the early scene in which Ordell is introduced to the viewer, and in which we see him with a woman, and in something that loosely qualifies as a home. This is an important setting in the film, one to which we return several times, the beach house in which Ordell has installed another of his women, Melanie (Bridget Fonda), a white ‘beach bunny’.
The terms in which Butch is positioned, as a functionary whose value to Marcellus is his implicit absolute obedience, a figure who exercises his masculinity entirely under direction, characterises them less as boss and worker than as master and slave. This is underlined by the difference in race of the two characters (ironically challenging expectations, with the subservient character here being the white one). It also has the effect of removing any suggestion that Marcellus is in a fatherly role to Butch.