Jane Got a Gun: Film Review

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Jane Got a Gun had a seriously troubled production and that has overshadowed the movie somewhat. Natalie Portman has been attached since 2012 and the movie has been ready for release since 2014 and after a series of delays it has finally arrived. When something has taken that long you expect it to be incredible, but this is just alright so I’m disappointed.

Portman plays Jane Hammond, who has to prepare to defend her home against John Bishop (Ewan McGregor) and his boys, who plan on turning up to finish off her outlaw husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) to settle a years-old score. Jane gets help from Dan (Joel Edgerton), her former fiance, who is still hurting over her new marriage.

I will give you a brief overview of the cast changes in this movie’s infamous development – Edgerton was originally John Bishop, but then he was switched to Dan after Michael Fassbender dropped out. Bishop was then going to be played by Jude Law, but he left when director Lynne Ramsay did and was replaced by Bradley Cooper, who also bailed due to scheduling conflicts so McGregor came aboard. Phew! Did you keep up? It is hard not to think of this when you’re watching the movie as it all could have gone down so differently.

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Jane Got a Gun is a Western and not the action-packed type I was expecting. It more or less uses the Western genre as the setting for a romance story with some action thrown in, mostly towards the end. The movie uses a lot of flashbacks to show us Jane and Dan’s relationship, what happened between them, how she ended up with Bill and why John Bishop wants to kill him. Also this slowly-revealed backstory was interesting to watch but the present day plot was far too slow. Not much happened at all – it was all about gearing up for this fight, which was distinctly underwhelming.

I liked the location, I loved seeing Portman as this kick-ass woman (although she still needs help from men at the end of the day) and just generally being back on my screen. I also enjoy Edgerton and he brought a great amount of emotional weight to the part and I liked the tension between them and Bill. McGregor was the weakest link because his character didn’t seem scary enough. I wanted him to be a bit more sinister and cut-throat to make the standoff at Jane’s home more thrilling.

It is not bad but it’s really not the film I thought it was going to be. I expected a big old “all guns blazing” type Western action flick but it is more about the romance and not much happens.

In cinemas today 

 

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