Aaron Sorkin, quite like Quentin Tarantino, has clearly past the reputation of being just a great screenwriter, rather he is a writing style now. The type, less talented writers try to imitate and manage to come with a decent looking script. I am talking about Sorkin in a film’s review which has nothing to do with him as far as credits are concerned is because John Madden’s Miss Sloane is definitely a case of imitated Sorkin-esque writing. There is an undeniable influence, ubiquitously present in every monologue, every conversation, every scene where two people are talking business [business, in the meanest sense], plotting their next move, one trying to be smarter than the other and vice versa and everything in Jonathan Perera’s script has an electrifying energy like an Aaron Sorkin screenplay. But that doesn’t mean that it really managed to pull off a Sorkin, I must clear that even though I am throwing his name a number of times, Miss Sloane’s writing is still far from great. Miss Sloane with all its impressive highs, falls quite short and it’s disappointing given how engrossingly entertaining this political drama thriller is, otherwise.
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Jessica Chastain is Miss Sloane, she works at a conservative lobbying firm. She is the best lobbyist in business and she is very much aware of her talent. When asked to lobby in support of Gun Possession in America Miss Sloane resigns, not because she is an idealist, but she has a certain stand against it, which the film never really explores why and with such enigma of a personality, it was justified. So, she resigns and makes her entire team resign with her. Sloane and her team joins another firm, one who lobbies against gun possession and thus begins a political and corporate battle between Sloane and her previous employers, with both sides going out of their ways, almost on an aggressively dirty level, to make sure that their argument wins over the other’s.
Jessica Chastain as Elizabeth Sloane is brilliant and there is always some kind of dynamism going around her character. She is an unstoppably ruthless lobbyist with emotional undertones she never lets anyone see, but there are times she surprisingly reveals her vulnerability for a couple of second and one sighs in relief seeing her humane side, even if it is there for a moment. She never seems like a person who cares about anything but her own victory but if she really is that cold natured is debatable and Jessica Chastain has done a brilliant job maintaining this grey shaded persona.
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There are many other important actors in Miss Sloane, who were, unfortunately, written off as uni-dimensional and prototypical corporate characters, we have seen in a number of films. Mark Strong, Michael Stuhlbarg and the legendary John Lithgow, they were all there but none of them really made an impression. I would have appreciated the film more if there was a well written, almost equally enigmatic, opponent on the other side of the argument, the character played by Stuhlbarg could be very much what I was looking for, but he was just there playing his part, in sufficiently predictable fashion. Miss Sloane is also a little problematic because at times the protagonist is way too smart, almost on a godly level, which is fine but then the film comes up with a climax, where it puts you off, because all her genius moves couldn’t stop us to predict her ‘Trump Card’ and that’s ironic. Miss Sloane the character is phenomenal, the film not quite.