Jessica Chastain plays Elizabeth Sloane, a ruthless Washington, D.C. lobbyist whose tactics are ethically ambiguous. Miss Sloane is approached by the gun lobby to help squelch a gun control bill. When she refuses to help them and actually joins the pro-gun control lobby, Miss Sloane finds her reputation under attack by her new-found enemies. The topical subject matter in the film makes Miss Sloane a powerful, timely story that could easily be happening behind the scenes in D.C. right now. The film progresses at breakneck speeds, keeping the sometimes dry political topics exciting. Though it includes some sex and drugs, Miss Sloane does not rely on that to keep it engaging, which tends to be a fault of some lesser films of a similar genre. Using explicit content to liven up an otherwise boring film is cheap and insincere. This film avoids that by injecting the narrative with genuine passion, spearheaded by Chastain’s intense lead performance.
A House of Cards-esque political thriller, Miss Sloane is as fast-paced and relentless as its titular character. Chastain delivers a powerhouse portrayal of a seemingly heartless and ambitious-to-a-fault lobbyist. As a strong female protagonist, Chastain exudes power and independence, sticking to her convictions regardless of professional consequences. Though Miss Sloane is fighting in favor of gun control, which can be construed as the “correct” side in the context of the film, the film details the depth behind her reasoning for supporting this cause. It explores the dichotomy between fighting for the sake of the cause, or fighting for the sake of the fight. If you support an ethical cause for unethical reasons and in unethical ways, does that make you the good guy or the bad guy? These difficult topics are touched upon in the film, but are left open-ended to allow the audience to decide for themselves.
Miss Sloane is driven by an anti-hero, who is certainly more anti- than hero. However, it is refreshing to see a compelling female lead who carries the film without relying on a romantic subplot to add substance. In addition, it was a welcome change to have a film featuring politicians that didn’t also include massive explosions, offensive racism, and horrible acting (*cough cough* London Has Fallen). The film is a quality look into the corruption in Washington D.C. and highlights the gray areas that can sometimes be overlooked. With legitimate Oscar buzz around Jessica Chastain’s fabulous lead performance, Miss Sloane is a well-rounded drama that just might pull EuropaCorp out of the gutter.