| In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane 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.
‘Miss Sloane’ is an informed look into the corruption of politics. It shows the vigorous nature in which politicians yearn to keep their positions and how our leaders are often picked and sabotaged. Engaging the audience with its chilling resonance, the film is often beautiful in its slick and smooth exterior, blended with its dark, and even at times creepy undertones of American politics. Weighty and ardent, its reduction of emotion can be a distance for some, perhaps even off-putting. The cynical and vivacious storytelling method could even be pushed as outrageous to a general movie goer or critic.
While the movie can easily be judged as a political thriller, the thrilling aspects in the film rely heavily on action/reaction shots of the highly unexpected revelations of its supporting characters. Foresight and overshadowing certain, very touchy, issues dealing with sexual abuse, violence and emotional tragedy, seems to keep the movie afloat for the majority of its runtime, although, the high anticipation of the verbal sword fighting between characters acts more like cinematic action pieces than narrative adrenaline.
The script stakes its claim in Aaron Sorkin’s territory, but with the signature rat-a-tat American vernacular dialogue Sorkin has displayed in A Few Good Men and television’s The West Wing and The Newsroom filtered through the European sensibilities of screenwriter Perera. As a result, where Sorkin would’ve made the words leap and soar, the rhythm of Perera’s phrasing is often labored and flat and the tempo plodding and stagey, like swing music played by a marching band. And the jaw-dropping denouement of Miss Sloane needs to be seen to be believed, although in retrospect clues are scattered like crumbs throughout the picture.
“Career suicide is not so bad when you consider the alternative is suicide by career.”
As the stress along with the cat-and-mouse games, many questions arise, that are rarely answered, which is frustrating for a viewer. More than anything, one of the most aggravating aspects of the movie is a lack of empathy or history behind the protagonist’s main ambitions. Sloane, a woman who shares nothing with her peers and amongst her employees, shares a very routine life that sees her eating at the same restaurant each and every night, while her main emotional connection/release is burdened to a very inquisitive and highly curious male escort named Forde. The interactions between Forde and Sloane are amongst the best in the film, easily giving audiences a mild understanding of Sloane’s psyche, even when audiences question whether or not a high-stakes lobbyist would actually share such delicate and classified information with, essentially, a high-end male prostitute.
While not being a fan of Chastain (or her voice) myself, even I have to admit that she did a great performance in this picture. She succeeds in making a character that compulsively deceives, betrays, and crosses the line appear desirable, despite putting the lives of others in danger. Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character, Esme Manucharian, is sobering, reminding Elizabeth Sloane of the pitfalls of valuing ambition over personal relationships. Some other good supporting performances from Mark Strong, Sam Waterston, John Lithgow and Alison Pill round up the performance in terms of cast.
‘Miss Sloane’ plays out like a TV series pilot along the lines of Damages, but the dynamics and the succinct images provided by cinematographer Sebastian Blenkov make for a decently entertaining film. It forces you to sit up and pay attention so that you can participate in its ludicrous twists and turns.
‘Miss Sloane’ gets a 6.8/10.
Shot on 35's Rating Sheet: 9.5 – 10.0: Excellent! 8.5 – 9.5: Fantastic, but with minor flaws 7.5 – 8.5: Great, but with issues 6.5 – 7.5: Okay, but with major issues 5.5 – 6.5: Had potential, but falls flat hard. 4.5 – 5.5: Disaster!
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