Poor, poor Jane Got A Gun.
The film achieved peak notoriety even before it began its production schedule, with its originally slated director Lynne Ramsay backing out immediately before production began, and potential lead actors Michael Fassbender, Jude Law, and then Bradley Cooper backing out in immediate sequacity. Ensuingly, director Gavin O’Connor and his Warrior leading man Joel Edgerton were brought in, along with Noah Emmerich and Ewan McGregor rounding out the principal cast. As if matters couldn’t get any worse, original distributor Relativity Media filed for bankruptcy, handing over the film to The Weinstein Company for marketing and distribution rights. We’re not even sure at what point VVS Films in Canada picked up the distribution rights or even when the film was released theatrically because it was all completed so quietly.
All of this is an immense shame because Jane Got A Gun is actually a decent film. A wholly satisfying Western, in fact. The film stars Natalie Portman (also putting in co-producer duties) as the titular Jane, a gunslinging heartbreaker in the very isolated New Mexico territory in 1871. Her husband Bill Hammond (Emmerich, turning in a quietly nuanced performance) returns on his horse to their frontier home one day riddled with bullets, sputtering warnings of the Bishop Boys (led by Ewan McGregor’s John Bishop) coming to massacre Jane and her secluded family. Toting ammunition and money, she immediately rides for Dan Frost (Edgerton)’s home, her ex-fiancee who, it turns out, she has immeasurable unresolved history with and pent-up feelings for. In a series of flashbacks the audience learns of said history as well as both John and Jane’s motivations for the tension-filled conclusive gunfight.
Though McGregor is completely miscast (his Big Fish-like accent and charming, dancing eyes don’t work for his sleazy charlatan role, sadly), Portman and Edgerton shine and their palpable fiery chemistry heat up the screen. Ignore everything you’ve heard about Jane Got a Gun and seek it out immediately.
Jane Got A Gun is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, Digital HD and Video-On-Demand.