The elephant in the room is Lynne Ramsay being pulled from the project. It’s a shame, because there’s a great film inside here, but it’s so clearly in the hands of the wrong director. Gavin O’Connor does an admirable job, but it’s clear he’s out of his depth. Warrior and Miracle are interesting explorations of the softer side of masculinity where Jane Got a Gun is a look at the harder side of femininity. This is Ramsay’s jam. Her films Movern Callar and We Need to Talk About Kevin are fascinating explorations of this idea.
There are lots of quiet moments between Portman and Edgerton that give the film a soft edge, but it kinda drones on. O’Connor doesn’t know how to make these moments interesting, especially the flashbacks, which feel like paint-by-the-numbers exposition. Contrast that with the fascinating flashbacks in We Need to Talk About Kevin and the absence of Ramsay is felt all the more. I know it’s in bad taste to critique a film for what it isn’t, but it’s clear that this project is halfway to being great, and tragically ends up being just okay.
© 2016 James Blake Ewing