The political world always arouses great passion and dislike among the general public, being made of lots of money and little dignity and decency, and you definitely won’t change your mind about that after this 2016 movie, Miss Sloane.
Indeed we step into the American political depths in Washington D.C., glimpsing the cruel universe of Elizabeth Sloane, an indomitable lobbyist with unmatched insight and masterful manipulation skills.
The dramatic turning point comes when she is co-opted from being solid pro-gun freedom and Second Amendment avenger to champion legislation to impose tighter restrictions on firearms sales.
In a courageous and impetuous front reversal, Sloane rallies against her former lobby by joining Rodolfo Schmidt, an influential supporter of greater regulation in gun distribution.
Joining her is her entire team, too, except her colleague Jane Molloy, who prefers to stay where she makes more money and has a better chance of winning.
Sloane’s arrival completely disrupts the information campaign, responding shot-for-shot to every lie and insinuation of her former colleagues, more furious than ever against her.
However, not all of Schmidt’s activists welcome her either while acknowledging her resolve and experience but disapproving of her evil and bizarre line of action.
Major disagreements arise, especially with Esme Manucharian, who survived a terrible and bloody school shooting in her youth.
At the same time, Sloane ends up in the eye of the storm of a Senate investigation spearheaded by greedy Senator Ronald Sperling, a secret aide to the gun lobby relentlessly seeking some secret to use against her.
Soon enough, the lobbyist is alone against all and sundry trying to stay afloat as time on the bill’s vote winds down, hiding her best cards for a surprising final twist.
The stories of world-wide politicians
Forsaking the romantic aura permeating previous Shakespeare in Love and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, John Madden takes a bold detour, also veering away from the suspense climate imbuing thrillers such as Killshot and The Debt.
The director rolls with his bare fists into the 2016 political environment, where the unstoppable Miss Sloane wields power in a frantic dance with a movie capable of gripping and enthralling.
Rooted deeply – and sadly – in current society, this story’s essence transcends the mere topic of gun control, as it might seem at first glance, revealing the dark folds of a system that appears to ease and sometimes even promote unpunished corruption.
Coming from Italy, despite the distinct characteristics of the American system, we also similarly look at our politicians. This resemblance raises the question of whether there is a common thread that unites the dissatisfaction of all of us citizens, regardless of our geographical diversity.
Not surprising, then, is the pervasive doubt, sometimes edging on cynicism, people place in their government. Many politicians perceive their role as a popularity challenge, like a bizarre reality show, at the expense of the commitments and duties they should be at the heart of their mandate.
They need to remember who elected them and the privileges they enjoy, instead only focusing on their political survival struggle. Nevertheless, despite the critical reality it depicts, this movie provides a faint but bright breath of optimism, although it does not have the traditional happy ending.
There persists, however, a bitter aftertaste of reluctance to change a system that is clearly not working as it should. Yet, as every history book reminds us, a little revolution now and then can refresh the spirit and bring back a ray of hope in an often bleak landscape of stupidity and career at all costs.
The loneliness of fighting words
In the vast pool of talent comprising the cast of this 2016 movie, all of them contribute to shaping the emotional and dramatic surge of the plot., yet Miss Sloane’s intelligent and unquestionable figure leaps to the fore.
Indeed, for the most part, we face a prime example of a “one-woman show” where the narrative burden falls mainly on Jessica Chastain‘s shoulders as a charming, intelligent, and perpetually on-alert political icon.
Her stubborn and combative character does not tolerate rejection or obstacles in her path. Yet, we also see a more vulnerable and troubled side, appearing especially in her intimate moments with her paid lover, the mysterious Jake Lacy.
Impossible to forget her performance in the touching sci-fi drama Take Shelter, where she teams up with the amazing Michael Shannon, bringing to life one of my favorite movies from the past two decades.
Acting as a rivals to Miss Sloane, we find two outstanding performers, Mark Strong and John Lithgow. The former plays her presumed new boss, although she tends to shamelessly play her way, while the latter is the die-hard, slimy senator who gives her no respite during the trial.
Finally, it is worth highlighting the excellent contributions of two young up-and-coming actresses. Gugu Mbatha-Raw tackles a challenging and fascinating role, perhaps deserving more space to better close the character.
On the other hand, Alison Pill plays Sloane’s close friend/enemy, the only member of her staff refusing to follow her anti-gun crusade. Please pay attention, however, since, as with all characters in this shark-filled political arena, things are never what they seem with her.