Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Miss Sloane

Miss Sloane
Jessica Chastain, Liz Sloane, John Lithgow, Mark Strong and Jake Lacy

Rated: R for language and some sexuality.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: November 25, 2016 Released by: Europa Corp

A loquaciously slick and pungent, if ultimately shallow drama churns thematically but doesn't rise to the occasion of its focused and headstrong eponymous central character. One wonders how the likes of Aaron Sorkin and J.C. Chandor could have elevated what should have sparkled in more timely fashion when it comes to ethics around special-interest groups.

John Madden's Miss Sloane is a reunion with one of his performers from The Debt, Jessica Chastain, in what could be seen as a vituperative stance on the current state of lobbying. With resemblances to real-life when it comes to those of higher governmental status coming under scrutiny for matters which he or she is considered wrong. Apparently all history is nothing but a succession of crises of rupture, repudiation and resistance. Chastain's chic, copper-coiffed swaggering Liz Sloane figures into this tale of manipulation, crusading, and blackmail with uncompromising aggression whose persona isn't that easy to really comprehend perhaps until the denouement.

The storyline considers a committee hearing that puts Liz at behest to a tough Senator (John Lithgow) for her maneuverings in regards to a gun-control lobby when she leaves her old-school firm to take them on under an idealist boss (Mark Strong). Her intimate relations (for her) have no emotional attachment, but a principled Southern-sounding escort (Jake Lacy) learns more than he should given Liz's meticulous, business-like approach to life.

The heated conversions often seem quicker than the thoughts that form them and the competition that compels Liz to suspect activity starts to shift as she copes with the consternation and appreciation of her juniors. Besides Strong, a compass of a confidante/protégé of mixed-race survivor of a tragedy (talented British thespian Gugu Mbatha-Raw of Beyond The Lights, Belle) begins to get into Liz's conscience. And, from there the script from neophyte Jonathan Perera begins to twist more and unravel with an attempt on Liz's new team in what leads to a final showdown.

Chastain, nevertheless, has the wiles and finesse to still keep Miss Sloane more watchable than it actually deserves to be, perhaps similar to what Cate Blanchett endowed with her intrepid journalist in Veronica Guerin, for example. The character, in a way, might be an analogue or adjunct to her riveting figures in films like A Most Violent Year, Interstellar and Zero Dark Thirty. Especially in wheeling-and-dealing with former bigwig (Sam Waterston) and ward (Allison Pill).  More unwavering than what unspools to a foolish 'post-truth' in spite of mostly seeming like a bright, poignant thriller for much of its run-time to many discerning cineastes.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Matt Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Miss Sloane  B-      C+   B-                  B- 

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