“Miss Sloane” – a film review by Gary Chew
Even though Miss Sloane is constructed to satisfy a personal bias of mine — that being the passage of more sensible laws as to who may buy and own a gun, while not injuring the Second Amendment — it was a bit of a slog for me to sit all the way through this brisk and blustery, terribly type — a film directed by John Madden. Moreover, all but two characters in the movie I found to be a totally big drag.
Mark Strong, minus his accent, but still with those dulcet tones, is the guy in the movie who seems to have a heart and is not prone to rhetorically kick someone in the crotch. He plays the part of Rodolfo, the boss of the lobbying effort to get gun legislation passed in the US Congress.
Then there’s the character called Esme, done by Gugu Mbatha-Raw; she keeps it secret as to why she’s so committed to making this legislation a reality. Esme presents herself as a woman who has a sensitivity that radiates humanity.
Jessica Chastain is totally fabulous doing the lead character, but what a cold, lovely bitch she is; savvy and clever, awesomely always playing to win… and that’s it and why. The motive behind the gun law her group is pushing, doesn’t seem to have anything to do with conscientiousness on Miss Sloane’s part. It would be an easy assumption to say Elizabeth Sloane doesn’t even have a conscience.
A parade of empty lives is mostly what you get watching Miss Sloane. The emptiest of them are led and “enjoyed” by the folks in the opposing group of lobbyists standing for the gun-making industry, a covert machine that’s been entrenched in American culture, lo these many decades.
Such juicy bad guys Madden has cast. John Lithgow as Senator Sperling; Sam Waterston as George DuPont (hmm); Michael Stuhlbarg plays a gun supporting lobbyist named Pat. Alison Pill is the low-key pro-gunner with the Girl Friday name of Jane. Most other actors in either lobby group take on sort of what I’d call “Jimmy Olson at the Daily Planet” roles. They’re like lemmings chatting it up there in their glassed-in offices and cubicles.
Miss Sloane takes care of her sexual needs via a male escort called Forde (Jake Lacy). He routinely shows up to service his red-headed client, then leaves with a pudgy envelope stuffed full of bills that Elizabeth has slipped into his fist. Tender is not the night.
The overblown dialogue is full-speed-ahead. You must listen fast. The slap back and forth rhetoric among the people in this movie fairly buzzes; the energy stays high and always with an obstreperous punch line put to every scene. Chastain gets most of the really cutting put down closers.
Conversely, the last act, with its twists and surprises, provides a solid payoff. You have to wait for it, though… and some of that waiting may rile you into a modicum of restlessness… as it did me.
Curiously, I don’t remember there being so much as one mention in the film of… yes, you guessed it… the NRA. But that’s what Miss Sloane is about… and Mr. Sandford (Chuck Shamata), who contracts for the pro-gun lobby group to stop the pending legislation is played as the foremost oleaginous person appearing in this photo play.
Lithgow, as the senator who heads the investigation into Miss Sloane’s trumped-up culpabilities so as to derail her agenda, comes in a close second in the oily department of lobbyists and crooked pols. Miss Sloane is a pretty darned good movie that questions the puny laws that allow for demented and disturbed citizens to acquire guns with the greatest of ease.