Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is a political lobbyist who jumps ship from a pro-gun firm to lobby for increased checks on gun purchases. The film begins in real time as Sloane appears at a congressional hearing to give testimony over her alleged violations of Senate ethics rules while in her prior role; the plot (that unravels in real time with the aid of comprehensive flashbacks) is a complex web of lies, falsehoods and misdemeanours.
Sloane is the sort of clever villain that you almost have to admire. In light of all her wrong doings, you never know whether to root for her and certainly never feel like you understand the true motivation for even her most mundane actions. Ruthless, smart and always in control; she’s a strong, formidable character that never loses her distinctly feminine persona. Chastain’s portrayal has a great deal of light and shade which is quite remarkable given that Sloane’s actions rely solely on logic, never pandering to emotional interference. Within a single frame, Chastain manages to convey Sloane’s conflicting inner world of vulnerability and unwavering confidence. It’s these contrasting tones that mean the viewer never has a jump on the plot; every turn is unexpected, you want her to succeed but don’t know if you’re on the right side of evil.
For a long film (over two hours), Miss Sloane is a well paced. It contains a multitude of significant happenings that mean it’s hard to know in what direction it’s headed. A plethora of minor characters inject humour into the proceedings and at no point does the enthralling tension begin to slack. In hindsight, you could easily conclude that the whole thing is a little far-fetched and I’m not sure it has any particular message or meaning but it is a highly enjoyable watch throughout.
Overall, Miss Sloane is a captivating political thriller in which Chastain puts in an impeccable performance. I give Miss Sloane and rating of 3.5/5.