Miss Sloane

Directed by John Madden who is best known for 1998’s Shakespeare in Love, Miss Sloane is a riveting political thriller about a high-powered Washington lobbyist who uses her sometimes dirty tactics to help pass a gun control bill. The terrific acting performance from Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain is really what makes the movie shine. Chastain portrays the lead character Elizabeth Sloane whose ruthless reputation makes her a particularly well sought-after lobbyist at one of the nation’s leading lobbying firms, run by Sam Waterston’s character. Complicating the audience’s characterization of her as a spineless and greedy lobbyist, she rejects an offer from the extremely powerful gun lobby to help defeat a bill mandating universal background checks for gun purchases. Instead, she shocks everyone by joining a small lobbying group, led by Mark Strong’s activist character, whose intent is to pass that very law. The filmmaker makes the interesting decision to have the story be played out mostly through flashbacks as Sloane is being investigated at a Senate hearing whose chair is a hostile Senator played by John Lithgow. Reinforcing the notion that politics is a nasty business full of conniving characters, the film follows Chastain’s character as she commits morally questionable and borderline illegal activities for the sole purpose of winning. However, the viewer feels torn because her actions can be justified as being in the pursuit of a just cause. The final plot twist in the end really drives home the film’s central question of whether the end justifies the means. Overall, I found it to be an enjoyable political thriller that feels especially relevant in today’s toxic political environment and transcends the genre by having one of the year’s best performances from Jessica Chastain. 

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