Friday, February 5, 2016

Movie Review #375: "Jane Got a Gun" (2016)

Movie"Jane Got a Gun"
Ticket Price: $9.75
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
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After Jane's (Natalie Portman) husband Bill Hammond (Noah Emmerich) returns home with a back full of bullets and on the brink of death, he informs her that an old outlaw enemy named John Bishop (Ewan McGregor) and his gang are coming for them. Jane sets out to ask for help from a former lover named Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton), who currently wants little to do with Jane, to aid her in fending them off. 

"Jane Got a Gun" is a western drama directed by Gavin O'Connor, who is best known for his 2011 critically acclaimed film "Warrior," also starring Joel Edgerton. Unfortunately, O'Connor's success may have stopped with "Warrior" because "Jane Got a Gun" is a gigantic step down from his previous effort. This film is produced by and stars Natalie Portman as the titular Jane, a woman married to an outlaw who has come back home riddled with bullets. Jane now has to defend her home and protect what is theirs when her past comes back to haunt them. Joel Edgerton, who has a screenwriter credit on this film, plays Dan Frost, a former lover of Jane's and a veteran of the Civil War. Jane seeks out Dan in order to beg him for help in defending her home and husband. Completing the "Star Wars" prequels reunion is Ewan McGregor and his horribly constructed mustache, who plays the villainous John Bishop, an outlaw boss who is looking for revenge against Jane's husband Bill Hammond, played by Noah Emmerich, a former member of the Bishop Boy Gang. Reluctantly, Dan agrees to help Jane fight off the Bishop Boys Gang and it would appear that he may have ulterior motives in doing so.

"Jane Got a Gun" presents a frequent Hollywood conundrum as this is a case of a clearly more than capable and talented cast being far better than the film they are in. After years of development hell as directors and actors either dropped out of the project or were switched for someone else during production, what we're left with is a middle-of-the-road, unexceptional attempt at a western heavily weighed down by its extensive periods of nothingness. It's not bad enough to be bad, but it's certainly not good enough to be good, which is far worse in the case of this movie. It is really hard to get invested in the characters here. The basic plot involves watching Jane prepare to defend her homestead with Dan and that's about it until the third act. This preparation is interspersed with flashback segments that offer up the backstories of Jane, Dan, Bill, and John, only doled out one tiny bit at a time and can often be misleading. We watch as Jane talks to Dan, and then get a flashback. Next, Jane goes into town, and then a flashback happens. Jane finds her way back home, and BAM!, another flashback. This pattern continues throughout the film until the very eventful climax, but even a couple of graphically violence scenes and a kick ass finale can't save "Jane Got a Gun" from its overly dull, extremely boring and long road to its ending. Not much of what happens is engaging or interesting, and it's not emotionally impactful, either. Even the revealing moments that should be full of substance are nothing more than sub-standard. Overall, this is a rather mundane film with a few brief flashes of what could have been something of a satisfying re-invigoration of the western film genre. It isn't until we reach the final showdown that something truly entertaining, intense, and fun happens, but by then, it's too little, too late, and you'll already be well on your way to forgetting that "Jane Got a Gun" even exists. 

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 36%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were watching: "Cake"

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