Miss Sloane

December 16, 2016 - Jessica Chastain plays a lobbyist with the longest game in Washington in this timely political thriller from director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love). The supporting cast includes Mark Strong, John Lithgow, Sam Waterston, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Chastain turns in a strong performance as Madeleine Elizabeth Sloane, a lobbyist at one of the top firms in DC. She mostly handles international trade, but when the gun-rights folks ask the firm to help defeat new gun control legislation, Liz is brought in to take charge of the effort. Instead, she quickly burns that bridge and takes half her team with her to work for a smaller firm on the other side of the issue.

The legislation in question was introduced in the wake of the latest mass shooting at a school. Sloane takes no prisoners and shows no compassion as she exploits every resource at her disposal in her effort to get the 60 votes needed to pass the bill. But, at what cost? The other side is just as ruthless, and when lives and her own career are threatened, you start to wonder if Sloane's long game came up a bit short.

Overall review: *** Jessica Chastain turns in a fine performance and instills a certain amount of believability in the sometime over-the-top plot. The movie did seem to be derivative in many ways, with scenes that bring up memories of other political films including The American President. Still, it held my interest and I enjoyed it.