Jane Got a Gun (2016)
Starring: Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, Noah Emmerich, Boyd Holbrook
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
Written by: Brian Duffield, Anthony Tambakis, Joel Edgerton
Rating: R Running Time: 1 hr. 38 min
At the center of this story is a love triangle. An ex-lover, Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) returns home after years at war to find his fiancé has moved on and settled down with a one-time outlaw, Bill Hammond (Noah Emmerich). Bill used to run with a gang of nefarious folks led by a bloke called John Bishop (played by a terribly miscast Ewan McGregor, doing is best ‘cowboy’ voice). And at the opening of the film, Bill returns home badly injured after a confrontation with his former employers.
Jane knows she’ll need help to fend off John Bishop and his gang when they try to reclaim her, so she recruits her ex-boyfriend, and drama ensues.
Jane Got a Gun is one of those films that sits in the limbo land of film criticism. It’s neither all that good, but is hardly a bad film either. Neither poorly made or acted, nor blazes a trail that brings something new to the western genre. It just, is, and it’ll float in and out of your life without you feeling strongly about it one way or another.
The problems I personally had with the film stem from the way the story is structured, because effect is always followed by cause. We’re shown the results of people’s actions, and then the explanations follow later in the film. The timing between these elements (for me at least) is critical, but this film unfortunately takes its sweet time explaining the motivations behind people’s actions, and this causes the film to drag. Making a 97-minute movie feel more like a 2-hour chore.
That being said, by the time the third act arrives, we’re pretty much caught up with everyone’s back stories, so the movie can move through its finale unencumbered. And as finales go, this wasn’t bad at all. Everything gets resolved in a fairly entertaining way, and Natalie Portman gets to do her badass cowgirl bit.
If you’re fan of the western genre, I think you’ll find this entertaining. Don’t expect a lot of action though. Jane Got a Gun is rated R for violence and some bad language.
Best Element: << spoiler! >>
Jane’s final confrontation with John Bishop is a lot of fun.