With ‘The Hateful Eight’ and ‘Bone Tomahawk’ already released this year 2016 has been a great year for the Western. However with such a high standard set so far this year for the genre ‘Jane Got a Gun’ had plenty to live up to. Starring Natalie Portman and Joel Edgerton though meant that this tale of the old west had a good chance of fending off any tumbleweed reactions.
‘Jane Got a Gun’ is a fairly simple story but an enjoyable one. The film splits its narrative into different sections. I wouldn’t quite say that different time periods run parallel but there are sequences from different periods of the characters pasts littered throughout the main narrative. I didn’t think this technique of story telling really affected the film in a bad or a good way, although there is one scene from the past which I really enjoyed. It does allow for the audiences attention to be held in certain parts of the film too. I thought due to this the film had a good pace, there were moments of action nicely dispersed between sections of drama and I enjoyed the mix of elements. It’s quite a contained film in terms of its setting and I maybe would have liked to have seen a few more locations used but this didn’t stop me from engaging with the film it’s just a suggestion of how it could have been improved slightly.
For the most part I thought the cast did a good job. Natalie Portman was good as Jane however the posters and trailer make her character out to be a little more tough than she actually is. Despite this I liked her as the lead character and enjoyed her scenes especially in the finale. Fresh from ‘Midnight Special’ Joel Edgerton stars alongside Portman. In my opinion Edgerton is one of the best actors working today, he takes to all his roles very well and is always convincing. Here I found him to be the actor who was best suited to his role and able to fit into the wild wild west with most ease. Ewan McGregor features in the film as the stories villain, John Bishop. I found this casting to be a little odd if I’m honest. I like McGregor as an actor but he doesn’t scream villain at me. He plays and outlaw here but I just didn’t buy it. This may have had something to do with his perfect pearly white teeth though, what kind of outlaw has that great dental care!? I maybe would have liked to see McGregor and Edgerton swap roles as I know Edgerton would have made a better villain for sure.
‘Jane Got a Gun’ is a simple but effective Western. It’s not the most authentic of the genre and with ‘The Hateful Eight’ and ‘Bone Tomahawk’ released in the same year it won’t be remembered. However, I still very much enjoyed the film and thought that Edgerton and Portman did well. With some interesting story lines the film always kept me intrigued and I’d happily add this to my collection of Westerns.
Rating – 7/10
Question: What is your favourite Joel Edgerton performance?
(Leave your answers in the comments below!)
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