It’s a wonder that Jane Got a Gun is even out in theaters right now. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with its production headlines will have read about its hellacious development cycle - whether it be the multiple delays, or the revolving door of talent like previous director Lynne Ramsay, and departed headliners like Michael Fassbender, Jude Law, and Bradley Cooper.
Gavin O’Connor, who’s built a sturdy reputation through elevated genre hits like Miracle and Warrior, was given the unenviable job to pick up the pieces. And while he’s created a fleet, nasty western that feels uncompromising in its violence, it’s also just as quick to jettison any of the themes that have the possibility to weigh down the story. In the last third, O’Connor isn’t so much tying up loose ends, as forcing the groundwork for the tidiest ending possible.
Set in the nineteenth century in the New Mexico territory, Jane Got a Gun begins as Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) sees her husband (Noah Emmerich) slumped over and bleeding out coming over the horizon on his horse. Bill Hammond’s finally met retribution from an infamous group of outlaws known as the Bishop Gang. Led by Colin McCann (Ewan McGregor, buried in a nearly unrecognizable bushy mustache and speaking with a mannered venom), a notorious black hat who’s been wronged by Jane and her husband, the Bishops Gang is on the way to finish the job.