Sunday, 25 September 2016

JANE GOT A GUN (film) shuffled along; stilted by flashbacks, but succeeding as a partially entertaining Western

Cast: Natalie Portman; Ewan McGregor; Joel Edgerton.  
Year: 2016. 
Director: Gavin O' Connor. 
Content Rating: R for some violence, language, and sexual suggestiveness. PG 13 L V. 
Source: Rented.  
IMDB: Jane Got a Gun 

A woman asks her ex-lover for help in order to save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him.

Overall, it was a good movie; despite a slow start and the amount of back story that tried to clutter it. 

For a movie that had an astonishing - and rather disappointing - amount of last-minute changes (Jude Law - and then Bradley Cooper - and Micheal Fassbender both pulled out of the leading male roles; Lynne Ramsay was also supposed to be directing) it is still a good film. 

The performances are decent, although it's really Edgerton, not Portman, who makes a firm statement; succeeding in overshadowing even Jane's big hat. Ewan McGregor looks out of place, but his acting's not bad. None of the acting is bad; they're solid and professional and Portman and McGregor both try to make their American accents work. They barely manage, but it's nothing worth criticism. 

The soundtrack is awesome. Equally, the cinematography is decent and shows off enough scenery and dust to ground a Western. 
The film is a good twist on the genre's stereotypes and cliches. Its feminist undercurrents are addressed and it speaks for the tragedy for women in those times, but for all Jane's firm words, loose gun belt and very big hat, she really is little more than a damsel-in-distress. The fact that she has a child (two, actually) does give another firm twist to what we expect of a Western, and yet all the backstory, etc, that was supposed to serve as a emotional foundation for the mother-and-daughter situation, was forced and uneven. Which brings me to.....

Some cons: 
Until more than about half-way, the film is tedious, slow, and even rather quite boring. The flashbacks seem forced and cut suspense away from the main story/threat. The whole story shuffles, almost aimlessly, without much urgency or real threat since we're left guessing for much of the first half what John Bishop and his boys actually have against Jane and her family.  That said, the story seems almost afraid to show its climax ; quite literally, actually, considering that the lighting is painfully poor at the climax. 
To be honest, the film works best at its action sequences. The quiet moments do little to evoke sympathy and instead are rather boring. 
I enjoyed it. Its climax was satisfying, however slow the start might have been, and it's a decent film :)   

I give it: 3 and a half flowers!

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