Jane Got Shot
It’s understandably hard to extricate the notorious 4-year production history of the 2011 Blacklist hit Jane Got a Gun from the end result that we finally see on the screen now.Once set to be helmed by controversially outspoken British director Lynne Ramsey, Jane Got a Gun had a very troubled production history, with not just the director, but nearly the entire cast, changed prior to filming. Clearly privy to rampant reshoots (the original stills depict scenes not in the final cut), even beyond the script reworking by replacement director Gavin O’Connor and replacement co-star Joel Edgerton (reuniting after Warrior) the film still has that what could have been feel to it. Which is a shame, because it’s actually a competent, solid Western. Despite the frankly unnecessarily unkind reviews that have been shotgun blasted towards this troubled film, and beyond a couple of obvious missteps along the way (the score is appallingly generic, and the tacked-on ending is disappointingly trite), it’s hard to know where all the venom has come from. I’m sure we’d have all liked to have known what Ramsey would have done with the same material but O’Connor’s film is a solid affairThere are strong performances from Natalie Portman and the aforementioned Edgerton, and decent support from Noah Emmerich. The opening kid’s story sets a great tone, and the multiple flashbacks work well to maintain pace in a narrative where, beyond the climax, very little actually happens in the present. Portman’s a solid lead, making you wonder where she’s been for the last few years, although it feels sometimes like the reworkings have undermined what could have been a more involved lead in favour of giving co-writer Edgerton’s character more limelight. Nevertheless Edgerton works well opposite her, and sure, Ewan McGregor’s villain is a visually pantomime caricature, but – beyond a little lack of pervasive menace – he’s far from bad for the job, and the film works well to tell a remarkably low-key story through involving flashbacks and bursts of tension. It’s really hard to see where all the hatred has come from. Jane Got a Gun, and she clearly knows how to use it.
Picture QualityPromoted with a strong 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen, Jane Got a Gun wears its stylistic choices on its sleeve, and brings the rich period setting to life. Replete with a gritty, dusty, open range look, the film benefits from excellent detail that laps up the textured nuances of the setting, as well as the weathered look of the clothes and finer skin flourishes.
Jane Got a Gun looks largely impressive on Blu-ray
The colour scheme works with that stylistic look, retaining strong tones, whilst black levels are rich and deep, thus managing the darker sequences well. With no significant digital defects, Jane Got a Gun may not quite make for reference material, but looks faithful and impressive nonetheless.
Sound QualityThe aural accompaniment holds its own
Jane Got a Gun is promoted with a solid, at times impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that does a good job with the material, delivering the dialogue with fine coherence, firmly prioritised across the front and centre channels, and able to rise above the remaining elements of the track. The effects array isn't exactly dominated by thunderous gunfire, but there are enough of them to give it some punch, echoing out across the landscape and thus your living room, with good use of surrounds and welcome accompaniment by the LFE channel. The score serves the piece but unfortunately does not give it a memorable signature, although it allows further fuel for the aural array.
ExtrasA distinct lack of extras offers no background into the troubled production.
VerdictJane is a solid shot, troubled by the curse of what could have been
Good video and audio accompany the piece, but the complete lack of extra material leaves us no better informed about the troubled production history that led to this flawed end result. Western fans should definitely check it out, but it will likely remain a shadow of the visionary film that genre fans were hoping for.
You can buy Jane Got a Gun on Blu-ray here
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