Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"Miss Sloane" Fires Thanks To Its Dynamite Performance By Jessica Chastain

   Jessica Chastain has proven herself as one of the absolute best actresses of her generation. Ever since her breakthrough year back in 2011, she's been churning out amazing performance after amazing performance whether it'd be a lead or a supporting role. But Miss Sloane shows that no matter how flawed or muddled a project that she carries on her shoulders may be, Chastain will certainly be the best part of it.

   Miss Sloane is about a lobbyist named Elizabeth Sloane played by Jessica Chastain. Once Sloane decides to lead the fight on gun control in Washington D.C., she leaves behind her old firm and is joined by a few of her assistants. As she plays a game of cat and mouse with perhaps the most powerful group of people in Capitol Hill, she reveals how she will do whatever it takes to win and no matter what the cost.
   The film works so amazingly because of Jessica Chastain's performance. Chastain is an absolute firecracker as the ruthless Miss Sloane, a woman who rubs her makeup off like it's war paint, treats every conversation like a battle, pops pills so she never sleeps, and betrays her own colleagues without thinking twice. She's a woman of all grit and no grace yet Chastain makes her fascinating to watch as she dominates every single frame she has on screen.

    As dynamite as Chastain is though, she still has an amazing cast surrounding her. Mark Strong plays a rare non-villain role as a head in Sloane's new law firm and he is reliably good. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is also terrific as Esme, a fellow lobbyist and provides a sensitivity that makes her a perfect foil to Sloane. Michael Stuhlbarg is so good you want to punch his character in the face as he expertly plays a slithery former employee of Sloane's at her old law firm. The other actors, Allison Pill, Jake Lacy, Sam Waterston, and John Lithgow, all do outstanding work as well.

     While the snappy and rapid fire dialogue from the screenplay from Jonathan Perera may feel like it's in Aaron Sorkin territory, at the same time, its dialogue helps make the film that depicts a serious topic enjoyable to watch and it helps sustain a lot of pulsating energy present throughout the picture. I also appreciated how Perera reveals both sides of the equation. It mostly focuses on Sloane's point of view yet it also reveals the point of view of those trying to strike her down. I will say, though, that the ending was a bit of a weird copout. Nothing terrible but it almost felt kind of predictable. It didn't bring down what I appreciated about the rest of the film, though, which is the extraordinary performances by the cast.

      In spite of its slight flaws, Miss Sloane is a high octane political thriller elevated by a knockout lead performance by Jessica Chastain along with its rapid fire screenplay and outstanding ensemble. Its ending may have had the film lose a bit of steam but watching the rest of the film is quite a ride.

Grade: A-