Jessica Chastain shines in Miss Sloane–but is the rest of the movie up to snuff? Read our movie review to find out:In the first shot of Miss Sloane, the titular character reveals the secret to being a lobbyist is to always have an ace up your sleeve. In order to win, one must prepare for all the angles, conceal your secret weapons to use against the enemy and constantly be willing to work dirty with illegal actions. It’s all part of the utilitarian circus in which the most ruthless of dirt-diggers will dominate the house and have their bill passed. But this is not so much an examination of its ugliness so much as it is rooting for the lobbyist less evil for a good cause.
Jessica Chastain plays Sloane as a fiery redhead of a lobbyist, sharply presented in tight dresses and high-heel shoes with pale white skin and deep red lipstick. She walks into every meeting and conversation with the smug sense that she has every angle thought of. When approached by her firm to work against a gun bill, she already has her attack planned out so meticulously in her own head that she laughs and jokes at being offered such a campaign. She takes it upon herself to accept an offer from another lobbying firm, takes most of her crew with her and stages her attack on the evil gun lobby. And so the battle lines are drawn in a race to convince members of Congress to pick a side, leading to dirty tactics and backstabbing on both sides.
The ability to enjoy the cutthroat nature of political lobbying warfare requires a certain distance of humanity. This is a world where the tearful press conference for a mother that lost her child to gun violence elicits expletive slinging from the right and cheers from the left. The movie is more interested in following Sloane and Sloane only, making us root for her underhand and secretive tactics to pay off and defeat the old guys that don’t want a gun bill to be passed.
Only briefly does her inhuman nature come into question when she uses her co-worker Gugu Mbatha-Raw against her will as a face for her cause and secretly collects money for a PAC. All her co-workers can do is raise an eyebrow, wonder if she was “ever normal” and just go back to work. Nobody wants to mess with this woman, including her new boss played by Mark Strong with a slipping English accent.
Chastain dominates her role, but it’s a role that builds her up as more of a figure than a character. Sloane has no life outside of her professional career. Her coworkers prod for some motive she might have against gun violence, but she dismisses it quickly, suggesting that this battle isn’t some sort of personal revenge. She just wants to win and is willing do anything to get there, no matter how scummy or under-the-table her tactics may be. Anyone questioning her will receive a tongue-lashing that is snarky to her co-workers and enraging to her enemies. But there’s always the question if she actually means what she is saying or just playing along to fool everyone. It doesn’t matter to Sloane. All that matters is winning.
Her secret passion of indulging in a ripped male escort is strictly business, except when it becomes more than business in her case. Her evenings are spent popping pep-pills and doing research. The most recreational we see of Sloane is a brief shot of her reading a John Grisham novel, which may or may not be for the purposes of forming another scheme. Is that all there is to this woman? Even Frank Underwood on House of Cards had video games between all his schemes of manipulation.
Miss Sloane has a perplexing nature to never settle on a concrete tone in how the soundtrack wiffles all over the place. When Sloane faces the senate, the music has the cold and ambient feel of a serious political drama. But when Sloane later undresses to have sex with a male escort, the music shifts to the more bouncy melody of a romantic comedy. Sometimes Sloane is seen as an evil genius and other times she turns into a weeping mess of conviction.
Read more to get the rest of the movie review for Miss Sloane and watch the trailer: