The Horror Honeys: Jane Finally Got a Movie!

Jane Finally Got a Movie!

A Revenge Honey New Release Review with Linnie

Jane Got a Gun (2016)

When most people sit down to watch a movie, they don't know (or care) what it took to get the movie there. But when you work in the film industry, especially as a writer, you tend to hear all of the horror stories about what can go wrong on a set before the cameras even start to roll. One such cautionary tale comes courtesy of Jane Got a Gun.

(Warning: There are multiple versions out there regarding the order in which the following events took place... Only those involved know for sure, and they're not talking).

Produced, and when it comes down to it, championed by Natalie Portman, this female-fronted Western has been in some stage of development since 2013. Bradley Cooper was signed on to star as American West mama bear Jane's former flame, while Joel Edgerton (who wrote the script) was going to play the villain. Then Cooper dropped out, and Michael Fassbender signed on, but he and director Lynne Ramsay didn't get along, so Fassbender was replaced with Jude Law. But then, on the first day of filming, Lynne Ramsay just... didn't show up. Ever. Jude Law panicked and balked. Edgerton stepped into the former flame role, and called in his friend Gavin O'Connor (Warrior) to take over directing duties. O'Connor brought his friend Ewan McGregor with him to take over the role of the villain, and just few months (and years) later, we had a film.

But if you think that's the end of the story, you don't know Hollywood at all.

The film may have been completed, but the studio that owned it, Relativity, went bankrupt, and handed full control of the movie over to The Weinstein Company. Just to get it out there, TWC planned a premiere in Paris. On November 16, 2015. So, that didn't happen, out of respect for the victims of the horrible bombing that occurred in the city just a few days before. But at this point, TWC just couldn't be bothered to fight for the movie anymore. So here we are, two weeks from a VOD release, and zero fanfare, for Jane Got a Gun, the little movie that could.

Now the question is... was it worth the wait, or is it going to circle the drain of collective consciousness and go the way of so many filming disasters before it? The answer is... it's better than it has a right to be, but still falls somewhere in the middle.

So join me on an epic Western journey, featuring Joel Edgerton, Natalie Portman, and Ewan McGregor!

Wait... wrong movie. Disregard!

She's not great with THAT gun, but she knows how to handle a shotgun.
The Story: When we meet Jane Hammond, she's at her homestead with her young daughter, and everything seems fairly idyllic. That is, until her husband, Bill "Ham" Hammond (Noah Emmerich) comes riding home full of bullets and telling her that the Bishop Boys know where they are. That's all she needs to hear; Jane tends to Ham's wounds, drops her little girl with a neighbor, and sets about finding help to protect her family. That help comes in the form of her ex-fiancé, Dan Frost, who is none-too-happy to see her. What follows is a series of flashbacks detailing how Jane and Dan's romance went wrong, as well as explaining how we ended up here, with a collection of increasingly pissed off gunslingers hunting down Jane and her family.

He's just a missing a little dog in aviator goggles.
Given Jane's checkered past as a film, there is no question that it looks beautiful, and is casted as well as it could have been. Edgerton, who I'm still furious with for The Gift, won back some of my favor in his role as Dan Frost, a brave, stalwart soldier with a broken heart. Portman's passion for Jane is evident, yet she was never quite as fierce as I was hoping, given that this is one of the few Westerns in film history to cast a woman as the lead protagonist. The only real problem I had was with McGregor, whose John Bishop was a mustache-twirling villain so one note, I almost expected him to tie Jane to the train tracks by the end of the film. Good old "My Contract REQUIRES Nudity" McGregor hasn't often played the bad guy, and his lack of familiarity with the role is obvious.

She threw away perfectly good preserves to make those bombs. 
Westerns are tricky business, especially modern westerns, because it's a genre where not a lot changes. Movies like Slow West, The Proposition, and The Salvation work because they bring something entirely different to the table. Jane Got a Gun, despite its valiant steps into the modern world in terms of gender equality, still doesn't surprise in any measurable way. But if you're a fan of westerns, it's a movie worth seeing. Yet, I found myself wishing that in addition to getting a gun, Jane had gotten just a little more badass.

Revenge Honey Rating: 3 & 1/2 twirling mustaches out of 5

Jane Got a Gun will be available on VOD platforms April 15, 2016, & blu-ray/DVD on April 26, 2016!

Will you give gun-toting Natalie Portman a chance?
Tell Linnie on Twitter: @linnieloowho