“Miss Sloane. Welcome to the party.”
I like political thrillers. It’s not a genre I end up actively watching, but I enjoy them. That was a realisation I reached while I was watching Miss Sloane. It also made me miss House of Cards, but since it’s coming back soon, everything’s good.
Miss Sloane focuses on Elizabeth Sloane, a lobbyist in Washington DC. She’s ruthless and she stops at nothing to win. When the movie begins, she’s in a congressional hearing where she has to testify about ethics violations she might have committed when she worked at a DC firm. The film jumps back and forth from that moment, showing the three months and a half prior to the hearing. In that time period, she quits her job and begins working for a lobby that’s trying to pass a gun control bill.
This makes the film interesting because it’s the main enigma. The company where she used to work is on the opposite side, and the one where she works now is a tiny firm in comparison. Miss Sloane’s reputation is notorious because she always wins but this time she’s in a losing battle. So people keep asking her why she’s changed sides.
In normal circumstances this heel-face turn would involve a side plot with a sad origin story or something similar. We don’t get anything like that in this film and it’s a refreshing change. Elizabeth Sloane is something of an enigma but we don’t need to know what made her the way she is, because it doesn’t matter.
“Career suicide’s not so bad when you consider the alternative is suicide by career.”
The cast is amazing, especially as an ensemble. While I was watching this film I had that “Cool, I didn’t know this person was in it” reaction several times. Mark Strong, Allison Pill and Gugu Mbatha-Raw have very prominent roles, and so does John Lithgow, although he’s not as scary as he was that one time he was on Dexter.
But even with such a cast, Jessica Chastain stands out. She’s a powerhouse and she steals every scene she’s in. She’s one of those actresses that can do anything she wants because she’s that good. This film needed a strong lead and she certainly provides that. And she doesn’t need to break the fourth wall to show that strength!
But all in all, this film is just another example of how the Black List can give a film a boost. Back in 2015, the script for Ms Sloane was among the top five best un-produced scripts of that year. And as of late whenever that happens they tend to get turned into films quite fast. This film was Jonathan Perera‘s first film and he lucked out because apart from Chastain, he had John Madden directing (and Madden is a SOLID director.)
“Lobbying is about foresight, about anticipating your opponent’s moves and devising counter measures”
All in all, while I enjoyed this film I just found it a bit difficult to believe. While I appreciated that they didn’t give Elizabeth Sloane a tragic backstory (that’s done to Gugu Mbatha-Raw‘s character anyway), in a way it felt a bit jarring that her character suddenly seems to develop a conscience. Especially after she’s done so much shady stuff. It’s a bit naive, but maybe it’s just that I’m way too cynical when it comes to certain stuff.
However, the many twists and turns of the script had me intrigued and invested in the movie. And as it happens with these films, the moment the time jumps stopped I had a feeling of “Shit’s about to get real!” And in a way it does. The music helps set the tone as well; at times it’s quite minimalistic and other times it’s the polar opposite, but it suits the film quite well.
Is this a perfect film? Far from it, but it’s still a nice film to watch if you feel like going to the cinema and watching something interested. If anything, seeing Jessica Chastain steal the movie from everyone else is always a good thing to spend some time watching. I know I’m repeating myself but she’s just that good!
What do you think? Do you fancy seeing Miss Sloane? Let us know in the comments!
Angry Spaniard, adoptive Irishman. Writer, reader, tea drinker and video game player/designer.