RELEASE DATE: 02/03/2017
RUN TIME: 2HR 12MIN
Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain, 'Crimson Peak', 'The Martian') is one of Washington D.C.'s most sought-after lobbyists, able to pull off anything her clients need by using any means necessary. She quits from her high-ranking firm when persuaded to join a group standing against the powerful gun lobby, a move seen by most as career suicide. Elizabeth is in it for the thrill of the win, and will stop at nothing to succeed at this near-impossible task, but her opponents aren't afraid to play dirty either, and dig up dirt from her past that sees her in front of a congressional hearing - and possibly behind bars.
This might not seem like the most nail-biting of premises, but the conveyance of this story certainly is. Shot more like a thriller than a political or courtroom drama, director John Madden ('The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel', 'Shakespeare in Love') and cinematographer Sebastian Blenkov ('The Riot Club') have created a dark, sinister, cold world to set this story. It's a grubby, complex tale penned by newcomer Jonathan Perera which delves into the messy world of lobbyists, pro-gun campaigners and the U.S. government. Coming in at over two hours, the story itself plays out with so many chapters, always ensuring the audience is playing close attention. Tension is escalated by a subtly sublime score by Max Richter ('The Leftovers', 'Morgan'), providing an uneasy undercurrent that never gets in the way.
The film rests on Jessica Chastain's shoulders.
The film rests on Jessica Chastain's shoulders, who offers a controlled, manic performance as her character struggles to stay one step ahead of her opposition in the toughest fight of her life. It's clear to see why she was nominated for a Golden Globe for this film, with inarguably her best leading role since 'Zero Dark Thirty'. The show is almost stolen by Gugu Mbatha-Raw ('Concussion', 'Jupiter Ascending'), however, as Esme, Elizabeth's strongest resource and most trusted ally, and yet still tossed about and used as necessary for the sake of success. Alison Pill ('The Newsroom') is, as usual, quite strikingly potent, even in the limited role she has here. There's also a startlingly old John Lithgow (TV's 'The Crown', 'The Accountant') as Congressman Sperling, whose character is tossed around by the ebb and flow of those controlling him.
Don't let 'Miss Sloane' become another gem you discover too late - make sure you see this one in the cinema. Its big screen ideas play out in a genre standoff, keeping the film fresh and interesting. Although highly dramatised, you'll see a glimpse of the legal corruption that happens in politics, and the lengths both sides will go to. With such murky waters, there's no surprise that U.S. politics is in the position it currently is.