Natalie Portman makes a stand as a doughty frontierswoman in a would-be revisionist Western that falls short of its feminist ambitions
Natalie Portman makes a stand as a doughty frontierswoman in a would-be revisionist Western that falls short of its feminist ambitions.
In 1871 New Mexico, Portman’s eponymous Jane strives to preserve her wounded, bedridden husband (Noah Emmerich) from a remorseless outlaw gang.
However, as her enemies draw closer to her secluded ranch, she is forced to call on the help of the embittered Civil War veteran who was once her fiancé (Joel Edgerton).
Taking over from original director Lynne Ramsay during the film’s troubled production, Gavin O’Connor is clearly aiming for a slow-burn build-up before we arrive at the explosive final showdown.
Unfortunately, he repeatedly waters down the tension by cutting away to convoluted flashbacks revealing the characters’ emotionally tangled back-stories. That’s a shame, as Portman and Edgerton turn in sturdy performances, while a near-unrecognisable Ewan McGregor oozes menace as their evil adversary.