Jane Got a Gun

"Good"

Jane Got a Gun Review


With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp the genre in intriguing ways. The first-rate cast adds plenty of depth to the usual roles, including a strong female point-of-view from Natalie Portman, who also produced the film. But some rather simplistic thematic touches undermine the originality, and the film never quite cracks through the surface to become something meaningful.

It's set in 1871 New Mexico, where Jane (Portman) lives on a hidden ranch with her outlaw husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) and their young daughter. But Bill's been badly injured, and the notorious scoundrel Bishop (Ewan McGregor) has vowed to track him down. For help Jane turns to her ex-fiance Dan (Joel Edgerton), an angry gunslinger who has never got over being abandoned by Jane all those years ago. He agrees to help her, and of course Bill isn't too happy about this, but he's too injured to protest. And Jane is so fiercely independent that she refuses to let her history with these two men define her future.

The premise is packed with all kinds of intriguing layers, but the script continually over-explains everything with a series of flashbacks to Jane's earlier encounters with Dan, Bishop, Bishop's hotheaded brother (Boyd Holbrook) and a particularly brutal desperado (Rodrigo Santoro). Not one of these people has even a hint of morality about them, which gives the actors a chance to inject a lot of complex texture into their performances. These are tough-minded men who never stop to think about the rule of law. And Portman's Jane is steelier than all of them, a woman who makes her own hard decisions in a place that doesn't let anyone off easily. Portman is terrific in the role, even if director Gavin O'Connor (Warrior) undermines her with his rather straightforward approach. Even so, her scenes with Edgerton and McGregor crackle with subtext.

This film had well-reported problems in its production history, including a last-minute swap of director and actors. And sometimes that can be seen in the way what clearly should have been a darkly inventive female-led Western drama has been told as a more standard shoot-em-up thriller. And the big action climax feels underwhelming, since it happens at night when it's difficult to see what's happening. Even so, the film is worth a look for the way the skilled actors invest sparky personality into their characters and interaction. And more importantly for the fact that this is a story about a strong woman in an unforgiving man's world.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Jane Got A Gun:



Jane Got a Gun

Facts and Figures

Genre: Western

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 29th January 2016

Box Office Worldwide: $1.4M

Budget: $25M

Distributed by: Relativity Media

Production compaines: Handsomecharlie Films, Unanimous Pictures, Straight Up Films, 1821 Pictures, Scott Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 35%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 22

IMDB: 5.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Aleen Keshishian, Mary Regency Boies, Zack Schiller, , Scott LaStaiti, Terry Dougas

Starring: as Jane Hammond, as Dan Frost, as Fitchum, as Colin McCann, as Bill Hammond, Alex Manette as Buck, as Vic, Todd Stashwick as O'Dowd, James Burnett as Cunny Charlie, Sam Quinn as Slow Jeremiah, River Shields as Kid, Chad Brummett as Theodore, Boots Southerland as Marshal, as Fur Trader, Robb Janov as Fiddler

Also starring:

Contactmusic


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