Directed by Gavin O’Connor
Jane (Natalie Portman) seeks out her ex-lover (Joel Edgerton) to help save her husband (Noah Emmerich) from a group of outlaws lead by John Bishop (Ewan McGregor) intent on killing him.
I heard this movie was bad and while it is bad it is not as bad as some have said. It has a good cast but is a lot of nothing. Most of its run time is just mildly entertaining filler. It is many painful looks and a lot of conversation coupled with flashbacks. There is way too much of this movie told in flashbacks in my opinion.
The movie is not told as a flashback that leads to the present day but rather as a handful of flashbacks during the present day. A film that is a flashback bookended by scenes in the present of the characters can create a fluid narrative but interrupting the story for a flashback to explain something creates a disjointed and uneven narrative. At least that is how it came off to me. I could be focusing too much on the flashback aspect since the movie was BORING.
There is a high number of Star Wars people in this movie. Ewan McGregor. Joel Edgerton. Natalie Portman. And these are all good actors but the movie just kind of is. Not bad but not good either. It is the embodiment of mediocre. It looks good and the dialogue is serviceable but nothing much happens. Dialogue is important in a movie, but a movie needs more than dialogue. The characters need to be doing something usually in order to move the story along rather than talking about things. What works in something contemplative like the animated Ghost in the Shell does not work in a Western with flesh and blood people.
Bishop’s murderous anger with Jane and her husband stems in part from her escaping the brothel and her husband breaking away from Bishop’s gang. That is what leads to the whole confrontation. Jane had joined Bishop’s wagon train when her husband failed to write or return from the Civil War because she assumed he was dead. This wagon train of women was really a ploy to isolate them in a brothel out in the American West.
One thing that bothers me is that Jane just takes the news of her daughter’s death at face value and puts in virtually no effort to find her. I cannot imagine any parent real or fictitious being so easily convinced of something so tragic. How little did her kid mean to her?
The ending revelation where Jane’s oldest daughter is still alive seems convenient. Basically everything that happened up to that point where the character drew on her pain of her losing her first daughter was for nothing. I am not sure if there was any point at all to this movie.
In Jane Got A Gun they try to do something deep and sophisticated and at best it comes off as pretentious. At worst it is boring. They have part of a story but not a part of a story worth filming. This at best enough content for a short film.
I just could not get into this movie. Nothing much grabbed me on the screen and honestly my attention kept wondering because it was dull. I paid about $5 for this movie and that was $6 too much. I do not think even the most hard-core western fans will enjoy this. You can skip this one and your life will be just fine. In fact it will be better than mine since I watched it and can never undo that.