Natalie Portman and Joel Edgerton make a stand against outlaw Ewan McGregor in Jane Got a Gun, a Western bearing the scars of a troubled production.
Natalie Portman makes a stand as a doughty frontierswoman in Jane Got a Gun, a would-be revisionist Western that falls short of its feminist ambitions.
In 1871 New Mexico, Portman’s eponymous Jane strives to preserve her wounded, bedridden husband (Noah Emmerich) from a remorseless outlaw gang. Yet as her enemies draw closer to her secluded ranch she is forced to call on the help of the embittered man who was once her fiancé, Joel Edgerton’s laconic Civil War veteran.
"Emotionally tangled back-stories"
Taking over from original director Lynne Ramsay (We Need To Talk About Kevin) during the film’s troubled production, Gavin O’Connor clearly aims to give us a slow-burn build up before we arrive at the film’s explosive final showdown. Unfortunately, he repeatedly defuses tension by cutting away to convoluted flashbacks revealing the characters’ emotionally tangled back-stories.
That’s a shame, as Portman and Edgerton turn in sturdy performances, while a near-unrecognisable Ewan McGregor oozes menace as their evil adversary.
Certificate 15. Runtime 94 mins. Director Gavin O'Connor
Jane Got a Gun, available on Digital Download, and on Blu-ray & DVD from 22 August, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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