Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Miss Sloane: Movie Review


Smart, gripping, political thriller.
When it goes up against the deep pockets and heavy hitters of awards season, Miss Sloane can’t quite hold its own. It’s not as “important” as some of its competitors, although there is relevance and timeliness to it. It also goes for a curious, but effective, mix of the flashiness of summer blockbusters and the dialogue-heavy, character centricity of December dramas. Starring perennial awards favourite Jessica Chastain, it’s inevitably going to get grouped in with the latter group, but it’s a smart, entertaining movie that deserves a watch. 2016

Directed by: John Madden

Screenplay by: Jonathan Perera

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong

I call it flashy because of how dramatic and larger-than-life the characters are. Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is like a fire cracker. When she is in the room, every single person is paying attention to her, and when she goes off, on a dime, everything abruptly changes. There are a number of twists and turns in this movie – as Elizabeth says, you always need to be two steps ahead of your competition, so most of them would be difficult to predict ahead of time, but they always make sense afterwards.

It takes place in Washington where the politicians are manipulative and sleazy and the lobbyists are even more manipulative and sleazy. Miss Sloane is the number one lobbyist, she appears to be scrupulous with no morals, but there’s an undercurrent with the theme of motivation perculating throughout. Some people just might be doing the right thing for the right reason, but it’s a non-ending guessing game of who’s corrupt and what exactly does winning look like.

We know what winning is for the American people. There are the pro gun legislation lobbyists and the lobbyists in the pockets of the NRA. The film touches on a lot of the arguments that both sides make in real life, and in a rather smart move, has a character on the brink of sanity make arguments that haven’t yet dare been tried in real life.

The question of accuracy/realism arises. It’s not based on a true story, a number of outcomes and plot turns are more cinematic than real, but it is based in reality. Miss Sloane is a smart, gripping, political thriller that plays just as much as an entertaining fun ride as it does as a lesson in politics.