Jane Got A Gun (2015)
***No real spoilers***
Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, and Joel Egerton, all in a western film that I had never even heard of. When that popped up on a TV film channel, I thought it was worth a look.
The film gets right into the action, then slows down to tell the story in flashbacks. New Mexico, 1871, and Jane (Portman) is living with her husband and child on a remote farmstead. He returns home, and has been shot by the Bishop Gang. He brings the news that they are coming to finish off the family. Jane gets straight into gear. Dropping off her child with a neighbour, she heads out to seek help from her one-time fiance, Dan, (Egerton) but he initially refuses. So she goes into the nearby town to stock up on ammunition and weapons, where she is captured by a gang member, and saved at the last moment by Dan, who has changed his mind.
When they return to the farm to fortify it against the expected attack, flashbacks tell us the story of Jane and Dan during the Civil War, and how she first met Bishop, (McGregor) and Hammond, her husband. This works in informing the viewer, but I would have preferred a more linear construction, with the story told in two distinct halves. After Jane and Dan have made their preparations, the film turns into a predictable shoot-out, once the Bishop Gang arrives. After a tense fire-fight, another plot reveal leads Jane and Dan onto the final quest, ending the film is a satisfying-enough fashion.
Sadly, this film is forgettable. I only watched it last night, and the details are already sketchy in my mind. Portman does her best as the feisty Jane, but McGregor settles for being a ‘black-hat’ villain of no substance, and Egerton’s reliable Dan is a ‘seen it before’ character. There is little or no point to the tale; no message, real twist, or interesting conclusion. Just an excuse for a conventional western gunfight, with a woman in the lead role for a change.
I watched this so you don’t have to. Watch something else instead.