Jane Got a Gun (2016)

But how easy was it for her to get that gun? Any background checks?

One morning, one just like any other one, where her husband has gone out for work, her daughter is playing in the front-yard, the sun is setting, the weather is nice, and there doesn’t seem to be a single chill in the air, something happens to Jane (Natalie Portman) that changes her life forever. Her husband (Noah Emmerich) ends up coming home, but with two bullet holes in him. Why did he get these? How? Who is to blame? Well, turns out that her hubby has been on the run from the law for quite some time and because of that, he’s been targeted by the ruthless and vicious John Bishop (Ewan McGregor), and the rest of his ragtag group of bastards, and now, they’re coming to finish off the job and, possibly, get rid of Jane, too. Obviously, Jane isn’t going to go down without a fight, which is why she knocks on the door of her ex-boyfriend (Joel Edgerton) to help fight off these evil baddies. Obviously, this brings up old feelings of love and remorse – something that doesn’t always go well with blood and violence.

Jane has her gun.
Jane has her gun.

At one point in time, Jane Got a Gun was promising to be a pretty awesome movie. With the likes of Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, and director Lynne Ramsay attached to it, it not only had some bright and shiny talents to make it sound good, but possibly be good, too. Then, things got fishy. For one, Fassbender left, then so did Jude Law, and though he was cast, Bradley Cooper was the next to hit the road. While this is clearly no good for any project, still, the fact that it still featured Portman, Ramsay, and Joel Edgerton was fine enough to make it seem still at least somewhat promising. Then, inexplicably, Ramsay left on the first day of shooting and ever since then, Jane Got a Gun has been a whirlwind of confusion, release date movements, under-seen advertising and, yes, a terrible box-office.

But who’s fault is that, really?

Sure, you could put a lot of the blame on the Weinsteins for allowing Jane Got a Gun to run as out of control as it did, but at the same time, this is just what happens when you’re working in Hollywood. People don’t always stick with projects, schedules conflict, and yeah, not every project turns out the way you want it to. The only thing you can hope for is that at least some part of the original vision is still to be found, and not totally abandoned because, well, it had to be.

And in the case of Jane Got a Gun, it’s obvious that the vision and final product that director Gavin O’Connor comes together with, was very different from Ramsay. Obviously, it’s clear what attracted Ramsay to a story like this; one about a strong, female character, front and center, taking over her life, kicking ass, and making baddies pay for it, all while in front of some beautiful landscapes. However, what would have been a very interesting movie with her take, gets lost in O’Connor’s, where it’s less about building the character of Jane and instead, showing us how terrible her life is, while focusing a whole lot more on the action than anything else.

Joel doesn't.
Joel doesn’t.

Which isn’t to say that the movie is nearly as bad as it’s made out to be. Sure, it’s disappointing, given the cast and crew involved, but at times, it can still be a enjoyable enough Western to where it doesn’t feel like the studio tinkered around with it enough to ruin it, nor does it feel like everyone involved was just cashing it in. Somewhere along the way, yes, Jane Got a Gun was probably left without any spirit or hope, but there’s some effort given on O’Connor’s part, where it seems like he wants to make a pretty Western, and does a fine job at that. Not to mention that some of the action is actually entertaining, as well as bloody – something that you don’t too often see in Westerns nowadays, unless they’re really trying to not make money at the box-office.

Oh, and the cast is pretty good, too.

Sure, nobody here really excels better than the rest, because the script doesn’t seem too concerned with actually building their characters, or giving them any distinct personalities, but hey, they work with what they’ve got and sometimes, that’s all you need. Portman does a lot of stern and somewhat scared staring as Jane; Joel Edgerton takes on his character with a sweeter touch; Noah Emmerich’s husband character doesn’t get to do much except rile in bed and occasionally make his presence known; and Ewan McGregor, as the main baddie of the film, tries to give at least something of a sinister spin, but other than a pretty bad-ass ‘stache, doesn’t make much of an impression. Once again, it’s not his, or anybody else’s fault here for not making a mark, but yeah, they’re all doing their things and that is, for the most part, fine.

However, while watching Jane Got a Gun, I couldn’t help but feel like nothing was really happening. Sure, there’s a story in which we’re told that a bunch of gun-slingin’ rebels are going to start coming for Jane and her loved ones, but there’s no real tension behind it. Also, there’s a whole bunch of flashbacks that are meant to help us understand these characters and their relationships a whole lot more, but for some reason, they don’t add much of any emotion or interest. It helps that we get at least some context, but when it’s so weak and underdeveloped as this, it’s almost like what’s the point?

If anything, just give us more action and violence. That’s the least you could try and do if you’re not going to give us anything of real intrigue.

Consensus: While not nearly the disastrous mess you’d expect from all of the production scandals, Jane Got a Gun is still a bit of a dull movie, not utilizing a cast to their full talents, nor ever getting its story off the ground.

5 / 10

But he'll teach her how to gun sling anyway.
But he’ll teach her how to gun sling anyway.

Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz


  1. Nice review. I did not like it. it is missing something and it has been rehashed too many times.

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