“It’s funny how things seemed, compared to how they ended up.” It’s true how life is like that sometimes.
Jane Got a Gun (2015) is a western film directed by Gavin O’Connor and written by Brian Duffield, Joel Edgerton, and Anthony Tambakis, that plays with the hardships of grief and loss. When the infamous outlaw John Bishop (Ewan McGregor) comes after Bill (Noah Emmerich) and Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman), that’s where we see her tragic story pickup.
Jane Hammond lives in a house beneath a giant ridge with her husband, Bill, and their daughter. The film starts with Jane tending to house chores when she sees Bill riding in on his horse. She steps outside to greet him, but Bill collapses off his horse just shy of reaching their gate.
Jane helps him inside and tends to Bill’s several bullet wounds. He tells her the Bishop Boys are coming, a crooked gang of criminals Bill used to work for. Jane, too, has a dark past intertwined with this gang, particularly John Bishop, but her relations are due to chance, not choice. With this in mind, Jane rounds up supplies and her daughter to get her safe and find help.
Riding on her horse over to a neighbor she trusts, Jane drops her daughter off before continuing to ride over to another neighbor’s house.
Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) steps out rifle in hand when she arrives and reminds her about being unwelcomed there. He slams himself back inside.
They talk, but with the apparent bitterness from whatever past history these two share, Jane rides away into town saying she’ll find someone there to help her instead.
Jane stops at a supply shop to stock up on a few things. It doesn’t appear she found any other help and gets ready to saddle back up.
One of Bishop’s men grab Jane by surprise, though, and drags her back into an alley. He recognizes Jane, peaking his curiosity as to where Bill is. Years ago, Bill put a bullet in this man’s neck, and he reminds Jane about how upset he is.
Suddenly, Dan Frost steps in, distracting the man enough to talk him down until Jane puts one through his head. The two head back home to prepare for a sure attack from the Bishop Boys, as Dan tells Jane he’s changed his mind about helping her.
The film isn’t much for action, but the in-depth relationship between Jane and Dan is what keeps everything going.
Honestly, I had pretty low expectations going into this movie. The ratings on it weren’t as high as I had hoped and I hadn’t heard much buzz surrounding it. But it surprised me, in one of the better ways possible.
It reminded me about what life has to offer; how cruel it can be when stripping things away from you, the treacherous consequences that sometimes come with certain decisions in life.