There’s been a resurgence of westerns in recent months, including Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and S Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk.
But it’s not only the boys who are keen to revive the genre.Natalie Portman’s been toiling away, in her role as a producer as well as star, on Jane Got A Gun.
It begins in 1871 in New Mexico, where Bill Hammond (Noah Emmerich), strewn with bullets, makes his way back to his isolated smallholding and no-nonsense wife Jane (Portman). He reveals he’s upset the outlaw John Bishop (Ewan McGregor) and now he and his men are on their way to seek revenge. Jane gallops off to call in on drunkard gunslinger – and ex-fiance – Dan (Joel Edgerton) to ask for his assistance. Despite his initial protestations, Dan agrees to help Jane and her husband and the film builds to the climatic shootout.
A moustachioed McGregor exudes a surprising amount of menace, the famous blue eyes eerily steely; Edgerton puts in a sturdy performance as the former lover, and a near-mute Emmerich is poignant in an intimately shot scene between Bill and Dan. And Academy Award-winning Portman is reliably impressive.
Unfortunately, aside from the odd dubiously-pitched flashbacks, it’s the overly sentimental finale that lets the film down.