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Jane Got A Gun (Blu-ray Review)

Jane-Got-A-GunAcademy Award© winner Natalie Portman (Black Swan, Star Wars Episodes I-III, The Professional) stars in Gavin O’Connor’s action-packed western Jane Got a Gun, available on Digital HD April 15 from Starz Digital, and on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand from Anchor Bay Entertainment April 26. Hailed as a “sturdy, well-crafted genre piece” by the Los Angeles Times, Jane Got a Gun also stars Joel Edgerton (Black Mass, The Gift, The Great Gatsby), Ewan McGregor (August: Osage County, The Island), Rodrigo Santoro (Focus, 300: Rise of an Empire), Noah Emmerich (TV’s “The Americans”, Little Children), and Boyd Holbrook (Gone GirlRun All Night). The screenplay is written by Brian Duffield (Insurgent), Anthony Tambakis (Warrior) and Joel Edgerton, with story by Brian Duffield. 

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Jane Hammond has built a life on the rugged western plains with her husband Bill “Ham” Hammond and young daughter. When Ham stumbles home riddled with bullets after a run-in with the relentless John Bishop and his gang, she knows they will not stop until her family is dead. In desperation, Jane turns to Dan Frost, a man from her past, for help. Haunted by old memories, Jane’s past meets the present in a heart-stopping battle for survival.

Jane Got A Gun is a film that was a long time a-comin’.  Production on this film started back in 2012 after being a favorite unproduced script the previous year.  Natalie Portman came right on board with director Lynne Ramsay.  A lot of behind the scenes drama wound up happening before this one was shot.  Ramsay would leave along with the cinematographer and the male leads in the film would become a bit of a revolving door of cast members with the likes of Bradley Cooper, Jude Law and Michael Fassbender being some of the names once attached to star in the film.

The film has a nice interested premise and has the rarity within the genre of having the story revolve around a female protagonist.  Unfortunately, the film is a bit too dour, too route and has you already knowing and figuring what’s going to happen well before the film unveils what you already have guessed.  While working in a slower paced genre, this one feels like its pushing it even for that.  There are nice moments, scenes and some shootouts that work, but the inbetween stuff just doesn’t prove all too interesting to carry the film.

There are good things about the film.  It looks pretty beautiful, with some really good cinematography providing good scope and scale along with some great imagery.  The cast here is also pretty strong an deliver on what isn’t much to be there.  Ewan MacGregor is more of a cameo kind of part, which is a shame because he’s chewing up scenery and having a ball.  And he looks like Billy Bob Thornton playing Robert Goulet in the film.  Portman is good, but her character’s demeanor and presence only doubles up with the one Joel Edgerton provides and their scenes feel of the utmost vanilla.

Jane Got A Gun is a film that you want to like, but the whole time that desire keeps peeling away as the minutes trudge on.  It even finally feels like its over or concluding excitingly, only to have you sit through another 20 minutes before the credits pop up.  This one is easily a rental at most.  If you’re a big fan, wait for the price to drop before purchasing.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail:  This film looks pretty beautiful on Blu-ray.  The image is sharp and detailed, bold an full looking in appearance.  Detail on stuff like clothing patterns and texture as well as just even the dirt and dust collected on the ground looks great.  While the movie is poor, this transfer is giving it its best.

Depth:  Spacing looks very good as characters and objects feel free in their areas and movements look smooth and cinematic.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and inky.  No crushing present.  Some detail can be hidden in darkly lit scenes and clothing.  However, it is impressive how the detail that does stick looks.

Color Reproduction:  This one’s strength comes in its palettes of browns, grays and dark blues as it has a more old and natural tone keeping to its times.  Grays look pretty strong as well.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural with a hint of warmth and maintain that appearance throughout the duration of the film.  Facial features like stubble, lip texture, scars and pores all come through pretty clear from close-ups to mid-range shots.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  A terrific mix accompanies a blah movie.  When this film wants to get action-heavy, it gets things very right and very involving.  There is a good balance of score, effects and vocals here with them feeling free of one another.  Dialogue sounds very good as well.  All in all, this movie is given its best shot in the presentation.

Low Frequency Extension:  Doors crashing, guns firing, bullets connecting, horse clip clopping and more are given some nice deep boosting from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Front speakers provide a good back and forth as it tracks the motion and action placement in the mix.  There are some shootouts that are really exciting and impressive.  Rear speakers primarily hang from some lifelike ambiance.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue may be softly spoken at times but its all picked up quite nicely and is loud and crisp.

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Jane Got A Gun comes with an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

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On paper, Jane Got A Gun sounded really cool and had an interesting cast.  Instead it all kinda goes nowhere and winds up a waste.  Nothing is surprising and feels all to predictable and dull to watch unfold.  There’s really no energy in this film.  Its presentation looks as grand as can be.  Unfortunately there are no featurettes or anything whatsoever to be found.  This is a rental at maximum, only for the curious and the big time western fan who watches every new entry into the genre’s canon.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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