"Portman, Edgerton, McGregor…what could possibly go wrong?"
Even though this is a quick hour-and-a-half when we are all becoming too familiar with the epic, superhero showdowns that are two-and-a-half hours, Jane Got a Gun is far more tedious than it was a juicy Western. Despite its gorgeous dust infused surroundings, it never quite grips in the way it should.
After we hear the back story of these characters we are supposed to empathise and cheer as Jane gets suited up to take on one awfully moustached Ewan McGregor, albeit seat shuffling seems to be the best option. But it’s not an entirely bad film. The problems they had getting this to screen in the first place almost makes the whole thing feel rather rushed.
Unfortunately from the get go this is a missed opportunity to make a raw Western. Of course, the red drenched snow of Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is all too fresh in our minds and even the minimal dialogue and a blood-splattered Jennifer Jason Leigh is a more interesting character than poor Portman’s. Going through the motions with casting and production issues, this is one hell of a tough act for Warrior director Gavin O’Connor to follow.
Yet knowing what this man has already done, it appeared to be in safe hands. Naturally, having Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, and of course McGregor plastered over every poster is sure to get bums on seats, yet their talent is wasted with drab lines and two-dimensional characters.
Choosing to proceed with an unbearably slow narrative execution only allows predictability to creep in. We receive convenient flashbacks illustrating key plot attributes, just in case the fool proof script went over anyone’s head, which seems to result in futile exchanges rather than creating good old-fashioned, horseback suspense.
Once the first hour decides to move firmly out of the way, the remaining 30 minutes jilts you into actually paying attention – you just have to get there first. Yes, Jane’s got a gun and yes she may have the balls to pull the trigger, but this outing appears to lack a certain amount of gun powder-instilled determination. And it’s going to take more than a 10-minute pistol fuelled finale to save this one.