REVIEW: Jane Got a Gun

6 05 2016

Jane Got A GunReally, truly and sincerely – I cannot think of a recent movie that I watched with more dispassion or disinterest than “Jane Got a Gun.”

The film, whose three-year journey to the audiences involved a revolving door of exiting talent along with the dramatic bankruptcy of its distributor, endured more than most. Yet in spite of (or, more likely, because of) this off-screen fracas, nothing remotely cinematic emerged. It feels like watching the motions of a western with no actual genre feeling. The wheels of time move, so the machinations of plot are there, but nothing really seems to happen. It’s mobile paralysis, if you will.

I generally tend to abide by Roger Ebert’s dogma when critiquing movies that suggests (as paraphrased by Wesley Morris) judging a movie against the best version of itself. All I can say is that the world is a worse place for not having the version of “Jane Got a Gun” directed by Lynne Ramsay, the wunderkind who summoned one of Tilda Swinton’s greatest performances in “We Need To Talk About Kevin.” Far more intriguing than watching any scene in the film directed by Gavin O’Connor (director of insipid MMA drama “Warrior”) was imagining how Ramsay might have approached the same situation.

I wondered how she might have gotten a more multifacted portrayal of the titular protagonist out of Portman. (Fun fact: this would have been the first feature-length film for Natalie Portman under a female director. So, yeah, go look up #HireTheseWomen.) I pondered how her impressionistic style could have livened up what otherwise feels like direct-to-DVD western fare. Surely whatever kind of uncommercial art film Ramsay was concocting could have made more money than this hastily assembled version of “Jane Got a Gun.” C-1halfstars

REVIEW: Warrior

2 10 2011

I had the benefit of seeing “Warrior” in August well before critics had really begun to weigh in on the movie, thus alleviating me of the responsibility of sorting out exacerbated expectations.  But after I watched it, rave reviews started rolling in by the dozen.  My response was a lot of head scratching.  What exactly did they see in the movie?

If we are really so desperate for an underdog story in these hard times that “Warrior” is exalted as a great film, then the recession has run a lot deeper than I thought.  Gavin O’Connor’s film is an over two hour snooze, hitting cliché after cliché with no imagination and even less personality.  It has no emotion, no character, no fire in its belly – something especially disappointing that O’Connor is the man who helmed the fantastic “Miracle,” one of the last truly great sports movies.

“Warrior” gives you no reason to care for anyone, not Tom Hardy’s washed-up soldier who wants to deny his heroism, not Joel Edgerton’s struggling teacher who boxes on the side for extra cash, nor their recovering alcoholic father who has estranged these two brothers played by Nick Nolte in a shameless “life imitating art” ploy.  They slowly – and I’m talking molasses slow – train towards the MMA Sparta tournament, Hardy’s Tommy with his father Paddy and Edgerton’s Brendan with an old buddy.  It’s about as moving as watching me type this review.

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