Belfast Telegraph

Jane Got A Gun review: Firing blanks in New Mexico

By Damon Smith

In 1871 New Mexico, bullet-riddled Bill Hammond (Noah Emmerich) staggers back home to his humble and isolated smallholding. His no-nonsense wife Jane (Natalie Portman) tends to his wounds and learns that her husband has crossed a sadistic outlaw called John Bishop (Ewan McGregor), who is en route to the ranch with his men.

Time is of the essence so Jane leaves their daughter Kate (Maisie McMaster) with a neighbour before seeking out drunkard gunslinger Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) to beg him for help to fend off Bishop's posse. Jane Got A Gun was plagued with problems during production - original director Lynne Ramsay departed and was replaced by Gavin O'Connor. A haphazard script credited to three writers including actor Edgerton, which is festooned with flashbacks that dissipate dramatic tension, provides a flimsy foundation for the characters' trials and tribulations.

Rose-tinted glimpses at Jane and Dan's romance require an exceedingly sweet tooth. Portman is a sympathetic heroine, and Edgerton and a largely wordless Emmerich are solid rivals for her pistol-whipped heart.

Three stars

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