By midlandsmovies, May 9 2017 01:48PM
Miss Sloane (2017) Dir. John Madden
Helmed by the very British Shakespeare in Love and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel director, John Madden, Miss Sloane could not be further from the anglo-centric films of the director’s past. Focusing on American political lobbyists as it does, the movie rests squarely on the shoulders of a tour-de-force performance from Jessica Chastain as the title lead.
Chastain is ruthless lobbyist Elizabeth Sloane who is head-hunted by Mark Strong to support new gun law background checks. From media appearances to back-room meetings, Sloane is shown to be a duplicitous player of rumour, conjecture and debate. Using every piece of information at her disposal including campaign secrets, it is to Chastain’s skill that she manages to keep the audience on her side throughout.
However, the film is shown in parallel to a future trial where she is summoned to a committee who submits evidence that accuses her of breaking Senate laws.
Ballsy and brash, Chastain doesn’t play a one-dimensional character as there is an element of vulnerability at play as she seeks love (albeit of the clandestine sexual type) from a male gigolo. A strong supporting cast rounds out the fine acting talent on show and sees Mark Strong as her “boss” – although she never follows a word he says – and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as her media intern Esme Manucharian.
Despite sworn to secrecy, Sloane uses her intern's history to illuminate her arguments on TV and the constant conflict is not only between the rival lobby groups but within her own team who dislike her less-than-trustworthy ways.
Having already been won over by the central performance and the tight script, the film concludes with somewhat of a twist ending I didn’t even see coming. But all of the narrative – and almost all of the scenes throughout – squarely rests at the door of Chastain. Along with Rebecca Hall in Christine, it’s an intense single piece of acting that without which the movie would simply fall apart.
With the only criticisms being a slide towards melodrama in a few scenes and some un-cinematic set design, the film however is a well-made and brilliantly paced character study that covers both personal and political themes of fighting against establised norms.
Midlands Movies Mike