Miss Sloane, B
Rated R, 132 minutes
The slick, well-acted new thriller "Miss Sloane" from "Shakespeare in Love's" John Madden may remind of such hits as "Michael Clatyon" or TV's "Scandal." However, it's also an acting showcase for lead actress Jessica Chastain in a delectable Oscar-worthy part.
In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane (Chastain) is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. Sloane has her biggest challenge to date as she fights for gun control laws. Among those she battles is her former law firm led by George Dupont (Sam Waterston) and a corrupt U.S. Senator (John Lithgow) intent on bringing her down.
Directed by Madden with a script by Jonathan Perera, the highly implausible but vastly entertaining "Miss Sloane" is full of nice twists and turns that would likely never happen in real life, but it's solid and enjoyable escapist entertainment. Chastain holds the film together as the flawed heroine who also has a conscience, strutting around in gorgeous clothes, bossing people around and forcing the camera (and the audience) into submission.
Besides, Chastain, there's a solid supporting cast too, including Michael Stuhlbarg, "Law & Order's" Waterston (playing one of the bad guys this time), Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lithgow as a corrupt senator and "The Imitation Game's" Mark Strong, as her long-suffering new boss. It's nice seeing many of these interact with Chastain's confident Sloane, though in fact there are probably too many characters to keep track of, and some of whom (including Jake Lacy and Allison Pill) who blandly get lost in some of "Miss Sloane's" varied plot twists and turns.
The uneven middle act is a little problematic, as it veers off into a few unnecessary subplots, but the climactic scene in which Sloane makes her final speech and plays her biggest trump card (no pun intended), is the film's best moment. Also, don't go expecting many high-and-mighty speeches about gun control, as it's simply the backdrop to all the behind-the-scenes D.C. wheeling and dealing, which is far more fun to watch.
It's nice that "Miss Sloane" provides a strong lead part for a female, and Chastain is up to the challenge and then some, becoming this generation's Faye Dunaway ala "Network." "Miss Sloane" is slick, charming and enjoyable, and a must-see if you want to see Chastain take charge - if only she had run for President the outcome may have been different.