Hoping to find a more welcoming home on its DVD release than its blink-and-you’ve-missed-it cinema outing earlier this year, Jane Got A Gun proves a satisfying, if somewhat underwhelming watch.

A western that is part action flick, part brutal revenger and part love story, there are echoes of countless genre films from down the years throughout director Gavin O’Connor’s opus – with the likes of Hannie Caulder and the more recent Sweetwater springing to mind.

Natalie Portman plays Jane Hammond, a tough cookie who has managed to piece her life together after a bloody run-in with the Bishop gang – a run-in that saw Jane lose her daughter.

But her sense of normality is shattered when her husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) returns home slumped on horseback, riddled with bullets courtesy of the same Bishop boys.

With the gang (led by Ewan McGregor) now on her tail, Jane feels the only course of action open to her is to grab her gun, pack her bags and head for ex-lover Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) – hoping he will prove the gunslinger she needs to survive.

But Dan is less than keen to get involved, and with the Bishop boys closing in, it could prove trouble for the both of them……

Firstly, let’s look at the good stuff. The performances are solid all round, and Portman and Edgerton make for a believable double act, with a real sense of shared history. Poor Emmerich has little to do other than lay in a pool of his own blood, while McGregor indulges in some moustache-twirling as the villainous John Bishop.

The cinematography is excellent, with some lush vistas, sweeping landscapes and an admirable use of silhouette. The violence, while hardly plentiful, is also expertly-handled, with a night-time shootout at the film’s climax proving particularly effective.

To be honest, there isn’t much in the way of negatives – the pace does dip at times, and things tie up a little too neatly for my liking, but these are lesser quibbles in the grand scheme of things.

In fact, Jane Got A Gun has a lot going for it – it’s just that the film never really claws its way out of simply being ‘good’, rather than great.

DVD Review: Jane Got A Gun
3.0Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.