It’s hard to know where to start in reviewing the formidable Miss Sloane – both the character and the film, which are formidable in equal measure. This powerhouse political drama will have you on the very edge of your seat throughout; my nails were worn right down by the time the credits rolled. The phenomenal Jessica Chastain holds the titular role and gives perhaps her best performance to date.
Elizabeth Sloane is the most powerful and sought-after lobbyist in Washington, but when asked to help oppose a bill that would see gun regulations introduced, she makes a decision at odds with the career she has built for herself; joining the firm who backs the law and fighting those she previously worked alongside. Taking on her toughest opponent yet, and in a country where the mere suggestion of gun control is enough to bring people out in protests, how far will the indomitable Miss Sloane go to win, when the price to pay for victory is higher than ever before?
Frustratingly, we are given precious little background to the central character who will so intrigue you from the very opening frame, which only makes her that much more fascinating. We never learn what motivates her, but simply that once motivated, she is nigh unstoppable; a force to be reckoned with.
More than great scenery or effects, more than characters or relationships, for me the thing which holds the ability to truly elevate a film from good to great is screenwriting, and in this respect Miss Sloane triumphs. This is a fast-paced, high-stakes courtroom drama of the highest order. Plot twists just keep on coming and with such unexpected and potent ferocity, just when you think there can’t possibly be another swerve the story can take, that they will leave you feeling bowled over. Opinion on Liz and whether or not we're actually on her side will change about as often as the snappy scenes do, and even by the end, we're not entirely sure what to make of her.
She’s brilliant but brutal. Defiant, unfaltering, cunning, unapologetic... love her or hate her, there is no arguing that this is one of the strongest female leads Hollywood has turned out in a while, and I for one think we need more Elizabeth Sloanes on our screens. Women who are determined to fight for what they believe is right despite all the naysayers, and without feeling the need to justify themselves.
In short, Miss Sloane is an intelligent, impeccably-crafted drama that will truly leave you reeling. Credit where credit is due - mention must be given to the wider cast; John Lithgow and Gugu Mbatha-Raw give particularly strong supporting performances. There are many words I could use to describe the characters, but when it comes to the film, just one stands out in mind: powerful. I can’t recommend this film highly enough.
IN UK CINEMAS 12 MAY