Jane (Natalie Portman) lives in the New Mexico territory with her husband Ham (Noah Emmerich) and young daughter. When Ham returns home severely injured with multiple gunshot wounds, Jane realizes that her past history with the brutal Bishop gang (led by Ewan McGregors smooth but evil bad guy ) is about to violently catch up with her. She then quickly hides her daughter, and turns to the only person who can help – her somewhat bitter former fiance Dan (Joel Edgerton).
Its well known that Jane Got an Gun has a very troubled history -along with script rewrites, big actors such as Jude Law, Michael Fassbender and Bradley Cooper were cast in various roles but then left the production, as did original director Lynne Ramsey and Cinematographer Darius Khondji. Indeed one would have thought that replacement director Gavin O’Connor, who did such an incredible job with Warrior, could easily rescue what seemed to be a jinxed film. Sadly the answer is no.
Its not that this film is bad by any means, indeed the photography, acting and direction are all fine – its just that for a western actioner nothing seems to move at a very fast pace nor is there any sense of the break neck excitement that is so desperately needed in any film of this genre. I was also baffled as to how the screenplay by Brian Dufffield was such hot property in the first place (it was on the 2011 blacklist) as the plot is very unoriginal and seems to have borrowed from multiple stories we that we’ve seen so many times before (Unforgiven, True Grit, Shane – even Mad Max, are just some that come to mind). The characters also feel somewhat thin, despite the fact that director Gavin OConnor places a great deal of emphasis on multiple flashbacks in order to flesh out various back stories.
To be honest, with all its behind the scenes issues, this is a film that probably shouldnt have been made in the first place, and one gets the impression that its $25 million budget could have been better spent elsewhere – as a result we have a rather bland film, made from a screenplay that breaks no new ground, and starring actors that really deserved better.
Overall a bit of a waste.
Author: Will Strong aka Grosse Point Geek