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WESTERN

Jane Got a Gun (2015)

Duration1h 38m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Denmark: 15 
Source of storyAn original screenplay
DirectorGavin O’Connor
Writers/ScriptBrian Duffield, Anthony Tambakis, Joel Edgerton
StarringNatalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, Noah Emerich, 
RatingsIMDb: 5.9/10 by 22,285 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 43% by 80 reviewers. Review2view: 6.5/10.

Elevator pitch: Around the end of the Civil War Jane and her daughter join a wagon train going west, commanded by outlaw John Bishop. Unbeknown to her Bishop intends to use them to populate a brothel, and so rejects the offer from one of the gang Bill Hammond to marry Jane. However when Jane is taken to a brothel Hammond follows her, shoots the customers and rides away with her. (all of this in flashback). Later Bill is shot by Bishop’s gang, and incapacitated, but makes it home and warns Jane that Bishop is coming. Jane therefore rides to an adjacent shack, where Dan Frost (once Jane’s fiancée)lives and asks for help. He initially turns her down, but when she is attacked in the town he comes to her aid and together they fortify Jane’s smallholding against the possible attack. 

Content: There are a number of implied rapes and attempted rapes, but no nudity. There is drinking, mostly from large and small bottles, and quite a bit of smoking. There is quite a bit of gunfire at various points, culminating in a night attack on Jane’s shack. Most of the men have two Colts, implying that they are cap and ball guns, but probably converted to chamber bullets. The operation of these weapons features extensively. Many people are shot at close range, but without much blood.

A View: This film made about $3 million against a $25 million production cost, but I think  it was better than that. If there was a weakness it seemed to me that neither Jane or Dan had a means of survival on a day to day basis. Their accommodation was perched in the magnificent scenery of New Mexico, but without any cattle, sheep, horses or produce. How did they live? But if we overlook that, Joel Edgerton made a good taciturn hero and the film went along well enough. A watch for nothing while doing something else.

This film could be classed as a revisionist western. Others in the genre reviewed on this site include: The Sisters Brothers, Slow West and Sweetwater.  

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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