Well, here’s a movie that’s got a bit of history to it. This film was announced way back in 2011. It didn’t start getting its cast in until 2012 and originally had Natalie Portman as the title character, Michael Fassbender as another protagonist, then Joel Edgerton as the villain, and the director would be Lynne Ramsay. The cast would then hit its first known bump when in 2013 Fassbender left due to commitment to DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. Edgerton then took the role of the other protagonist and he was replaced by Jude Law as the villain. But then Ramsay left the project and Law left not long after, due to only signing on to work with Ramsay. Gavin O’Connor replaced Ramsay and Bradley Cooper eventually replaced Law. The script went through a rewrite, and then Cooper left the project in favor of AMERICAN HUSTLE, to which he was eventually replaced by Ewan McGregor. Originally the movie was set for a 2014 release, but then co-distributor Relativity Media filed for bankruptcy while losing the rights to the film back in 2015, to which their co-distributor, The Weinstein Company fully acquired the film.
Whew! Anyone else need a nap after that?
Yeah, after such a roller-coaster lifespan this movie had, I didn’t think it’d be very good. But I guess when a project goes through such a continuous production crisis as this, you gotta go and see if it churned out anything good. Soon as KUNG FU PANDA 3 ended, got my ticket for it. This is my honest review of JANE GOT A GUN.
Jane (Natalie Portman) is a wife to an outlaw named Bill (Noah Emmerich) and a mother to their small child. But one day, Bill comes home having been shot to hell, but still alive. Jane is told that Bill’s former posse, the Bishop Boys gang, led by the dastardly Colin McCann (Ewan McGregor), is coming for him. In hopes of finding help to defend her home from the gang, she seeks out her ex-husband and former army veteran Dan (Joel Edgerton). But their backstory makes for an awkward and head-butting venture that turns complicated when maybe the flame of their relationship has not died out.
Well, if you read my brief history of the movie, you might get the same impression that I did. And… yeah, it’s not very good.
I won’t pretend to know anything about the film industry, but I imagine from what I’ve read, there’s at least two things that happen that raise red flags. The first being losing a director. Not all directors have the same vision. Sometimes radically different, or subtly. Either way, what one director goes for will rarely be what the other goes for and yield the same or even similar results. The other red flag would be when a script goes through rewrites. If I remember correctly, rewrites are usually because a studio wants the story to go their way. They paid the screenwriter for the script, the writer gets their name in the credits, but now the script becomes the studio’s plaything. Changes tend to happen and have ended up hurting films in the past, like HANCOCK and ALIEN 3.
Well, whatever this movie was supposed to be is now lost in a confused, jumbled, and incredibly boring movie.
The one thing that irked me the most about this was how the flashback scenes were done. They just don’t fit with the tone of the rest of the film. Jane’s ex-fiance, Dan, went off to war and… never wrote her. This makes no sense since their relationship is nauseatingly whimsical. Seriously, bright yellow sunny days with wind blowing in the wheat fields, I felt like I needed a barf bag.
Years go by and Jane decides that her husband is dead. She has no proof of this, she’s just an impatient bitch. Seeking… I don’t know, work? Protection? She winds up finding the Bishop Boys gang and eventually shacks up with Bill, who’s a good man and wants to marry Jane. Well, as if on cue, bad shit happens. Jane is torn away from the daughter she had with Dan, and forced into prostitution and her daughter killed. Bill goes on a killing spree and quickly finds Jane. The two escape the gang and they have a child, all the while, Dan’s come home from the war and has spent a hefty amount of time looking for Jane… only to find her with Bill and a their baby. Jane sees him and everyone is all heart-broken and Dan rides off to leave Jane alone. Would you guess this was a western? Because this movie felt more like a really bad soap opera. I mean, when was a backstory like this last told in this way? These characters are painfully bland and uninteresting.
Nothing helps during the present-day stuff. Jane’s now asking Dan for help in defending her home by paying him for his services. Christ lady, just curl your hand into a fist and punch him in the dick. It’d be a whole lot less painful. But he wisely says no and sends her on her way, to which she throws back an undeserved quip. Yeah, I mean, you only assumed your fiance was dead, left him, got involved in a gang with your child at your heel, married another man, and had another baby with that man, but yes, Dan’s the bad guy in this situation. I follow the logic. No really, I do. *SARCASM*
Honestly, that’s the rest of the movie. Dan’s constantly being bitter and mentioning that all he is to Jane is hired help, and they go back and forth being pissed at each other or building up enough awful romantic tension to stop a fifty caliber bullet. Seriously, it’s ninety minutes of that. I was fighting to stay awake.
To make matters worse, the ending is hilariously awkward.
By the end of the movie, Bill’s been killed, so it’s just Jane and Dan. The bad-guys are dead except for McCann. As if this movie thinks it’s delivering the most intense twist of the last decade, the mustachioed deuche says that Jane’s first daughter never died and that it was all a cruel joke when it was revealed that she was. Oh, that got me awake alright. It’s just so lazily tacked on, you’re almost not sure if you’re really watching this.
Oh, but you are. They find this long-lost daughter, of all the fucking places in the entire world, right back where Jane was being sold as a prostitute. With nearly no effort spent, they find little miss slave washing clothes in the back yard. They hug, they cry, and Dan’s in the back staring fairly awkwardly.
But wait! The best has yet to come. Earlier in the movie, Jane gives her youngest daughter to a Native American tribe to protect her. By this time, they picked her up and took her to find her older half-sister. Jane and her older daughter are reunited and all that happens. Cut to the next god damned shot and it’s the two daughters in the back of the wagon sitting and staring opposite each other with blank expressions on their faces. I mean, really analyze that closer of a scene. You have two half-sisters who have never met, nor share a line of dialog. Their mom is up front, the very same mom that the older daughter hasn’t seen in nearly ten years, with Dan… the father of the older daughter that neither knew were related to each other. The very same Dan who is presumably about to the father to the younger daughter after her real father was murdered, and they’re all just riding off into the sunset not saying a damn word about everything that’s happened, as if this is a regular Wednesday afternoon. Don’t act like this hasn’t happened to you, dear readers.
Man, I wish there was some redeeming value to this. Sure, the acting’s fine, but the characters are so uninteresting that there’s nothing any actor could bring to these roles to make them any good. It’s honestly a shock, what with all the problems this project had that the project continued at all.
If interested in what exactly happened, some additional details are in the link below.
Hell, Collider.com almost has a series of articles chronicling the pre-production of this movie. It gets pretty dramatic.
It ain’t the most god-awful flick I’ve ever seen, but… damn, it sure wasn’t good. A damn shame because each and every other article out there kept saying how promising and feminist this western was supposed to be. I guess we’ll never know.
My honest rating: 2/5
Did anyone else agree? Did you find this movie as disjointed as I did? Or maybe did you enjoy it more? Let me know in the comments what you thought of the movie.