Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria)
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Awesome old west movie with female lead.
A simple story with just enough twists to kept it interesting. Portman puts on a good performance and is a pleasing to watch. Good for a lazy day Sunday watch.
A first family is believed dead and instead not, a second family seems alive and instead dies, a third comes out, with a bullet apiece for each parent, who will live elsewhere to die anyway. A botched and inconclusive western.
Really bad sound track. Like the worst....it took away from every scene. It's slow, the storyline was jumbled and confusing. Wow just do yourself a favour and don't watch it.
- Jane Got A Gun - And True Grit -
My dad introduced me to Westerns when I was a young'un... Silverado was always my personal favorite. And then there was good ol' John Wayne, whom I watched more of when I became a wrangler, working with horses on a local ranch. But as much as I loved these stories, they always lacked a female protagonist. Women were present (i.e. rescued or featured prominently in saloons), but where were the ones with grit and gumption?
Enter Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman, Thor, Black Swan). Jane is the heroine we've been waiting for. She didn't set out to become one, but she responds to life's circumstances with courage and brains.
When her fiancé doesn't return from fighting the Confederates after the Civil War ends, Jane heads for New Mexico. After she is trafficked into a brothel by the man leading her wagon train, the villainous John Bishop (Ewan McGregor, Last Days in the Desert, Our Kind of Traitor), she builds a new life for herself with the one man who comes to her aid, Bill Hammond (Noah Emmerich, Blood Ties, Warrior). When he's shot by Bishop's men and barely makes it back to their home, she does her best to patch him up before taking their daughter to safety and going to the one man she knows who can help her against the oncoming storm: her ex-fiancé, Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton, Black Mass, Warrior). Together they prepare to defend her property from Bishop's men, who are determined to finish what they started.
Jane's character was different from what I'd expected. I've been programmed to expect either a mostly helpless female, or one that is unrealistically tough (with the occasional moment of weakness to make her appear human). I don't relate to either of those types, so I was a bit apprehensive of what I would find in this film.
I'm happy to say that I was surprised to find a woman who was not only relatable, but thought-provoking. Glimpses into her past prove that she's more than capable of handling herself, so when she actually needs help, the situation is plausible. She's not the only one being saved or doing the saving in this film; everyone has their moments, which settled the hairs on the back of my neck that rose the first time Jane was between a rock and a hard place. Also, she's basically a super-mom; she cooks, cleans, manages the occasional shootout, handles emergency first aid, etc., all with a no-nonsense attitude of efficiency. Not to say she isn't fazed by the tough stuff. She is, but she deals with it. In that way, she's basically the sugar and steel that women are made of.
It's worth mentioning that the film doesn't cut corners in the genre category, either. I'm not a fan of tropes, but there are just certain things you expect from Westerns: exciting chases on horseback, rickety towns built in the middle of the vast and stunning wilderness, shootouts, a villain that's more dastardly than decent folk can handle, saloons, leather and dust... I was a bit concerned that the filmmakers would soften these to make the protagonist look stronger, but that wasn't at all the case. Score!
Jane is a woman who manages to face and overcome every obstacle with grit, guts, and determination. That alone would have made a decent Western. But toss in victory, justice, and a happy ending...that's a good one, partner.
This review was first published on Narrative Muse, http://www.narrativemuse.co/movies/jane-got-a-gun, and was written Micah Orsetti. Narrative Muse curates the best books and movies by and about women and non-binary folk on our website http://narrativemuse.co and our social media channels.
There's been a few good Westerns put out there in recent years, both as series and stand alone films. This ain't one of them. Ewan McGregor hasn't looked so uncomfortable since Star Wars.
It's quite nice to look at and the cast is amazing, but the story is just too badly written to ignore. They not only seemed to pick the least compelling and interesting of its possible directions every time there was a directional choice to be made, but also punctuated it with ill-fitting flashbacks that felt completely different in tone, leaving it a bit of a mess. Most of all, though, the characters are just in dire need of fleshing out. What saves it from being a complete disaster is the final act which is somewhat exciting, although nothing special. All in all, the story of this film's hellish production is probably more interesting than the film itself - that's not really a good sign.
Mediocre but feels good movie. Typical oldies when goodies were rewarded and bads were punished. Happy ending and everybody was happy.
As far as westerns go, this was ok but it adds nothing new to the genre. Considering the title I expected this to be a female led western revenge tale but Jane still finds herself turning to a man for help and although as the title suggests, she does indeed have a gun, it isn't fired often enough, that task is left to Joel Edgerton playing the gunsligner she hires to protect her family. The other let down is Ewan McGregor's villain, he does an average job on villain duties, I just wish they hadn't made him up to look like a pantomime villain, complete with twirling moustache.
The greatest strength to this western is the back story between Jane, her husband and the gunslinger. We see through various flashbacks how each of the characters are connected and I felt this added some much needed depth to the story. It was entertaining enough but won't rank high up in my favourite westerns.
Dumb western with the girl from Thor.