Miss Sloane Reviewed by Jon E Clist

The Premise

In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. Known equally for her cunning and her track record of success, she has always done whatever is required to win. But when she takes on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds that winning may come at too high a price.

The Review
A good political thriller can be a great way to spend a couple of hours on a cold and wet wintery afternoon. To have the delicately balanced blend of anticipation and satisfaction passionately brought together through a well written storyline certainly gets the heart beat racing and the endorphins flowing. Jessica Chastain has certainly earned a solid reputation as an actress who picks her roles well and readily delivers outstanding performances. Here as Miss Sloane we see much more of the same and embedded within a rally intriguing story of Corruption, Lobbying and the government we know exists but wish it didn’t. When it comes to USA politics nothing seems hotter than Gun Control Legislation and therefore this is the perfect issue to build a film around. I guess this is why sometimes there is a fine line between good art and reality. Director John Madden actually gave the screenplay to actress Jessica Chastain personally. He had only her in mind for the role after he read the script. Madden had previously directed Chastain in the film The Debt.

In fact, upon the film's theatrical release, the US gun lobby mounted an aggressive social media campaign, especially across middle America, encouraging their expansive membership to boycott Miss Sloane. As expected very few of the film's detractors even watched the film, nor judged it on its merits, however, they still believed the film carried a pro-gun-control message that threatened their constitutional rights. While their efforts were largely effective in adversely influencing the film's box-office momentum. The film still received high praise from critics and audiences who viewed it. Ironically, the film's message is not directed at gun control as much as it pulls back the curtain on the corruption and manipulation present among high-powered lobbyists in DC politics, with gun control operating merely as its topic of debate for a lobbying endeavour central to the film's plot.

Let’s be honest a good film builds on a central topic and doesn’t rest on it and Miss Sloane is a fabulous example of this principle. Building a collection of characters that you love to hate, completely mistrust and some that you hope will still find success despite who they are. I loved the fact that there were several moments that I smugly assumed that I knew all that was going on, only to find out I had been cleverly left in the dark and plot twists were afoot.

I think this is an important hallmark of some of the films I have loved the most over the years. Films like Fight Club, The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects took us firmly in a direction that we comfortably went along with only to pull the carpet out from under us and show us something completely different. While there isn’t a psychological or supernatural level here, Miss Sloane still demonstrates the ability to “Rope-A-Dope” the audience with great fashion.

The Verdict
A well told story set in a hot-bed of political corruption and intrigue.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 7th June 2017
Rating: M – Contains sex scenes and offensive language
Duration: 126 minutes 
Genre:  Genre
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, John Lithgow, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Pill, Mark Strong
Director: John Madden (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)

The Extras

It's reported that Steven Spielberg was a fan of the script and considered directing the project before John Madden was hired. It was ultimately decided that Spielberg's availability was too far out to serve the expectations of the production.

The script for this film was discovered from a query letter by the writer's manager in Spring 2014, and further developed and exposed to the market in early 2015. The unrepresented screenwriter was living in Asia at the time and was attempting to solicit industry reps over the Internet. In less than one year, the spec script was acquired, attracted an Oscar-nominated director and actress, procured financing and distribution, and was put on a progress-to-production track.

The screenplay was ranked in the top five of Hollywood's 2015 Black List, an annual tally of the industry's favorite scripts of the year.

Screenwriter Jonathan Perera was the only writer to work on the script. This is a rarity in the movie industry.

Jessica Chastain and John Lithgow previously starred in Interstellar (2014), with Lithgow playing Chastain's character's grandfather. However, the two actors never shared any screen time together.

Jessica Chastain and Mark Strong also starred in Zero Dark Thirty (2012).

The film cast includes three Oscar nominees: John Lithgow, Sam Waterston and Jessica Chastain.