Director: John Madden
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Pill, Jake Lacy, John Litgow
In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane (Chastain) is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. But when taking on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds winning may come at too high a price. (Source: IMDb)
In a world of blockbusters, it is quite common for low-key political thrillers such as this one to slip under the radar a little, particularly now as we’re coming into the sweet-spot of the Summer movie season. With a world-class cast however, headed up by Jessica Chastain and Mark Strong, this film is definitely worth a watch.
After an excellent performance in The Zookeeper’s Wife, Jessica Chastain has been on a good run this year, and this performance as the titular Miss Sloane, may just be the best of her career. It is a towering performance, an acerbic wit and genuine brokenness layered underneath the initially cold and badass exterior. Chastain tackles the legal speak with great ease, and delivers a really powerful and measured performance. Her character has a really interesting arc, and indeed the structure of the film itself – with its gradual unravelling of plot threads – somewhat reflects the unravelling of the character. Without her, this film wouldn’t be anywhere near as compelling, and not only just she completely sell it, but she holds the entire thing together.
The supporting cast are really great as well, with the always dependable Mark Strong back in a role which demands a little more of him than his last effort did (read my Grimsby review at your peril!). The real stand-out here, aside from Chastain, is Gugu Mbatha-Raw. After impressing in Belle and the gorgeous Black Mirror episode San Junipero, her performance in Miss Sloane further cements what a really exciting young talent she is, and I for one will be watching the rest of her career with great interest.
The pacing is a little slow in places, but the ending is ultimately satisfying, and if a political thriller doesn’t particularly sound like your bag of chips, you might actually find yourself pleasantly surprised with this film. There’s more twists and turns than you might expect, you just need the patience to see it through.
As alluded to, the pacing is somewhat slow and at two hours, it does feel a little long considering the subject matter. Cut down by 20 minutes or so, this would be a really tightly wound and effective drama, but it does start to drag in the second half before picking up again at the end.
I saw this movie and you should too. Chastain’s performance makes this worth a watch alone, and whilst not perhaps cinematic enough to demand you part with your hard-earned cash to see it in theatres, it is definitely worth a watch. It is so refreshing to see a female lead who can handle her business and who isn’t burdened with an unnecessary romantic subplot as well, so it deserves kudos for that. The film itself isn’t particularly stand-out, but with great performances across the board, Miss Sloane is an enjoyable watch.