JANE GOT A GUN follows a woman (NATALIE PORTMAN) who struggles to defend her home from a gang of criminals seeking to kill her injured husband (NOEL EMMERICH). Jane thinks back through her past about how she ended up in this situation.
Westerns are certainly flavour of the month in Hollywood at the moment. There have been a few excellent examples such as The Hateful Eight, and some peculiar but entertaining films like Bone Tomahawk and Slow West. Jane Got a Gun is not excellent, nor is it peculiar. It falls somewhere in the middle, where it will soon be forgotten by many despite being entertaining enough.
The film kicks off with Jane’s husband coming home severely injured. He has been shot five times and warns Jane that their old enemies the Bishop brothers (Ewan McGregor and Boyd Holbrook) will be coming for them. It is then up to Jane to defend her house and her husband, while also protecting their young daughter.
The pacing in Jane Got a Gun is a bit odd; there are flashbacks to Jane’s previous life explaining how she got to the present situation she is in. These are fine, but it makes the pace a bit clunky and ruins the flow of the story. The uneven pace of the film is the only major issue here, there are some real lulls in the plot where it gets quite boring. The ending feels incredibly rushed and forced, it almost ruins a passable film. None of this is helped by the fact that Natalie Portman’s lead performance is very bland, all she does is make you try to think of a better substitute with greater screen presence.
The final act of Jane Got a Gun could have potentially redeemed it to a really enjoyable and memorable film. Unfortunately, director Gavin O’Connor chose to shoot this segment in a very dark and confusing manner. A lot of Jane Got a Gun’s scenes are obscure, either bathed in golden light, or submersed in midnight blue darkness. Some of these scenes look truly beautiful, particularly the flashback scenes, the problem comes at the end when the real action starts. The shadowy scenes make it really difficult to tell where everyone is and who is going where.
Overall, Jane Got a Gun is mildly entertaining and likable. However, it’s uneven pace and obscure direction make it difficult to love.