Breaking away from the Coen’s for a Sunday at the theater, I decided I couldn’t resist the western kick that I’m on and went to see Jane Got a Gun, which has a 6.1 out of 10 on IMDb and 33% on Rotten Tomatoes, at the only theater within an hour that was playing it; the Lakeland Cobb.
Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) and Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) hunker down at the Hammond house after her husband, Bill Hammond (Noah Emmerich), was shot in the back by the Bishop Boys gang. The gang’s leader, John Bishop (Ewan McGregor), has been hunting them down for years and the final stand-off approaches. The movie utilizes flash backs to tell the story of how this stand-off has become necessary. The story is interesting and the performances are solid with McGregor feeling the best, but also the most under used. Joel Edgerton was compelling, but Portman still felt a little stiff to me.
I’m not sure if I just don’t like people crying or if I’m overly critical of over-dramatic tears, but Portman manages to put her name on the list of Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games Mocking Jay part 1 and Claire Danes in Romeo + Juliet as the worst on screen cries. It could be that it’s just too hard to figure out the right reaction to an event and over-crying is the result. Again, this could just be my pet peeve, but considering the list is short it seems I may have some validity. As to my comment on her stiff performance, I’ve been victimized by the Star Wars prequels recently and it may be there is a sour taste with her performance in that film.
As far as the film goes, it’s fine. Not super memorable, not bad, and ultimately it was a solid experience at the movies. Except for the odd cameo by 1980’s Pepsi Spokesperson Max Headroom, which apparently was an exclusive to my theater at my time slot. What I mean to say, is when a digital projector glitches it creates a lag effect that is reminiscent of the old Spokesperson staggered speech. This occurred during an important sequence in the film, but before the climax. I don’t think it took me out of the film though, but it’s worth a note. Maybe if the film had gone uninterrupted that scene may have be the catalyst to make it great. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case.
Jane Got a Gun is a quick western with some memorable moments, but ultimately is a splash in the pan of the history of westerns. There isn’t anything really particularly wrong with it, but it also doesn’t do anything particularly amazing. I’d say the film deserves a 5 out of 10 mason jars.