Jackie Brown" (1997) is the red-headed step child on Tarantino's resume. He made the world his oyster with "Pulp Fiction" and chose to follow it up with a small and obscure homage to 70's blaxploitation films. It's unlike anything else Tarantino has done. It's subtle, subdued even. It's the most character-driven of his films. And it's wonderfully self-indulgent.
Before "Jackie Brown," few people remembered Pam Grier and Robert Forester (the film's two stars). No one wanted to see a modern day blaxploitation film. And no one wanted to see Robert Deniro play a dull, lifeless schlub. No one but Tarantino, that is. And he made it all so cool, so stylized and sexy, that everyone wondered why no one had done this all before.
I love the ultra-violence in Tarantino's other films, and I love how over-the-top dramatic they are. But I feel closer to this film than his others, because he doesn't use either of these techniques. The film is his own personal love letter to a very specific type of movies and actors he adored growing up. You leave the film in awe at how well he mimics, yet at the same time modernizes, the blaxploitation genre.
As far as I'm concerned, a great director doesn't need a plot. What is happening matters so much less than how it's happening, because storytelling is all about the skill and style of the storyteller. And not since Stanley Kubrick or Francois Traffaut has anyone understood that better than Quentin Tarintino.