Look, I get that politics is a bit of a touchy subject at the moment. Many of you are probably still reeling from the fact the United States decided to elect Donald Trump as their President, and many of you still can’t stand the fact the United Kingdom are now leaving the European Union. The subject was always one you could never bring up without some tensions rising, but now it’s a great way to ruin any social gathering you go to by simply bringing up Article 50. Anyway, politics still dominates films and the latest one to tackle this subject is Miss Sloane.
Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain, The Martian) is one of the most successful lobbyists in Washington DC and so the gun lobby aim to hire her to fight against a new law which would restrict gun laws. However she decides to go against that, quit her company and join their opponents so that she can get the law passed. However in doing this, she makes some powerful new enemies who aim to take her down.
So yes, if you want a break from the controversial topics that Donald Trump constantly brings up, here is a film about gun laws. Well, not really. You see while the film is shaped all around the most controversial issue in American because an orange man took to office, it isn’t really about them. The film could replace the gun debate with any other debate because the film is really about lobbyists and the power they wield. It’s all about the sneaky stuff that these people do to make sure that senators and congressmen vote on their side, whether it is doing some perfectly legal bribery or orchestrating PR stunts which force them to take their side. It’s absolutely fascinating to watch, mainly because the film is rooted in reality and you can see this sort of thing happening in real life.
And the thing I really appreciate is that the film is happy to use shades of grey. Considering the debate being had in the film, it could have been very simple to make the anti-gun people into our pure hearted heroes while the pro-gun lobbyists are villains who might as well have horns growing out of their heads. But no, the film is very happy to show that even the side that much of the audience will probably back, the anti-gun side, are happy to dabble in questionable tactics and even some damn right illegal stuff at times. It makes the film far more interesting and questions the audience whether we back bad stuff being done for the greater good.
Of course this is all assisted by a superb performance by Jessica Chastain. As Miss Sloane, the dodgy lobbyist who finally listens to her conscience to switch companies and fight for the anti-gun group, she is given so much material to make this character truly memorable. Driven characters can end up being a bit dull, but Chastain puts a lot of personality into this role to make sure it isn’t. The fact she is willing to bend the rules for her own gains makes her fascinating and even when she oversteps the line, you go with her because of the pure magnetism she has in this role. No one else really gets a chance to come close to Chastain in this movie, mainly because it’s all about giving her this time to shine and show she’s a truly amazing actress, if you didn’t know that already.
And Miss Sloane has enough twists to make it interesting throughout. The main aim for the characters in the film are to persuade senators to pledge for our side and watching the two sides come up with ideas to make sure they have them on their side. So when you have a scene at a medical conference when one of the lobbyists are trying to ask a question which will force him to come out and support the anti-gun side, you wonder how the pro-gun lobbyists are going to respond. Then when they do, you can’t wait for the response to the response. It’s an odd form of tennis really, and it’s Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray on the court.
Unfortunately a film that is shaping up really well does start to unravel towards the end. Basically, they go for the Hollywood ending. A film like this which is shaping up as it is demands a dark ending, mainly to reinforce how crappy Washing is. It’s not an original message, but the all point is how backstabby this city is and that politicians barely ever follow their own conscience and are more likely to follow the money. So the ending which is pulled completely out of the ass of the writer is rather unsatisfying and unlikely, which is disappointing as the film is bloody brilliant before that.
I know that you might want a break from politics considering everything that has gone on over the last few months, but I do urge you to check out Miss Sloane. With all the very obvious terribleness happening in Washington right now, this film shows the dark underbelly which we should also remember. It’s a fascinating game of cat and mouse which you need to see played out, even if it does end with a big disappointment. Much like real politics then.