By Christian DiMartino
I realize that I’m a few months late on reviewing Jane Got a Gun, but lets face it: You don’t care. If you cared, then you would’ve seen it. In fact, I don’t even think it was screened for critics (not that I actually consider myself legitimate, but I can daydream). But yes, I am late. But the funny thing is that this MOVIE is even later.
What do I mean? Well, I heard about Jane Got a Gun about 3 or 4 years ago, when it was due to be directed by Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and due to star Michael Fassbender. But then both of them dropped out, and now flash forward to present day, and we now have Jane Got a Gun, directed by Gavin O’Conner (Warrior, Miracle) and starring a few Star Wars prequels alumni: Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, and Joel Edgerton.
So, how has it turned out? Well, some people hate it. I hated the title. It’s always been a tad stupid. But yet I didn’t hate the film. Still though, one can’t help but imagine a better movie, given the talent involved. That “better movie” has kind of been lost in translation to screen.
Portman, who sadly doesn’t show up to a lot of projects these days, plays the title character Jane. Jane’s husband, Bill (Noah Emmerich) comes home with bullets in his back, and tells her that John Bishop (McGregor) and his men are coming for them, and are out for blood.
Bill can’t really defend himself, and neither can she. So she turns to Dan (Edgerton) for gunslinging help. Their encounter seems a tad awkward, and here’s why: the two of them are former lovers, as we learn from flashbacks. We also learn why they’re not lovers anymore, and so on.
Jane Got a Gun looks great. O’Conner has captured the look of the Old West. As a production, the film works, and the performances are solid for the most part (though I never fully bought into McGregor as a hardass). The problem comes from the storytelling.
Not that the elements of the plot aren’t interesting, but yet it’s mostly the way the pieces of the puzzle are put together. The film suffers from poor pacing, and dull stretches. When things get cookin’, Jane Got a Gun is something of a thrill. But then again, you have to wait. And then it’s interesting… and then you have to wait.
I liked Jane Got a Gun more than I was expecting. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad film, but more of one that needs work. After years of re-writes and production issues, the final result is a film that should be better.
To make a corny western reference, it misses the bullseye.