Review: Jane Got a Gun

January has been a pretty rough month for movies (as is usually the case). I’ve seen three lame, terrible, disappointing movies, and one movie that was alright.

Now my dad and I were having dinner tonight and after talking about our families, our lives, and politics, he decided that he wanted to see a movie with me, and who was I to argue with him? I mean, there was a pretty good chance that the movie would be garbage, but at least I would get an excuse to write. After looking through all the options, we decided to go see Jane Got a Gun, as it seemed to be the best of all the underwhelming choices.

 

Fortunately for us though, Jane Got a Gun was a pretty good movie.

 

I found Natalie Portman’s performance to be impressive and sincere, and as someone who has not seen Joel Edgerton in many movies, I felt shame that I haven’t seen him in more films and thought he did a fantastic job as well. I guess considering both of their track records as of late, I should not have been surprised at all that this movie was good. Ewan McGregor plays the lead antagonist, and although we really don’t see him as much as I was hoping, I found his role to be unsettling. The reason I bring this up is because they did not make McGregor an antagonist with a massive personality; they just somehow created him into an aura of creepiness.

 

And that’s one of the things I appreciated about Jane Got a Gun: it was able to do a lot without being really flashy. There are subtleties in all the performances that allow the viewer to interpret how a character feels or thinks without having anybody spell it out for you. There were points where just a look from Portman or Edgerton showed the pain and despair that all the dialogue in the world could not describe.

This is essentially one of the reasons I love Mad Max: Fury Road so much. Is this movie as good as Fury Road? Nope, but the fact that this movie got it right when so many other movies don’t is worth noting.

 

Now judging by how some of the previews make this movie look, I have a bad feeling that some people will go to see this movie expecting a gunslinging, action-packed western flick. And although there is some of that in this movie, the vast majority of it focuses on our two main characters’ unfinished business. I’m extending this warning because there are a lot of people I know who have a much lower tolerance than I do for “slow scenes” in movies (usually known as character development scenes). If you can’t handle movies with quite a bit of slow scenes, I don’t think you will enjoy this movie as much as I did, but to each their own.

 

There is one certain scene in this movie where there was an annoying number of cuts and a decent amount of shaky cam, both of which made it hard to tell what was going on, and that really really frustrated me because it took me out of that scene.

 

But all in all, Jane Got a Gun is a pretty satisfying movie. There’s a lot to enjoy about all of the performances, and Natalie Portman in particular has a pretty powerful amount of emotion in this film. This may be the best film of January 2016 so far, and I’m giving this movie a 7 out of 10.

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