English film director John Madden has a knack for showcasing actresses in strong leading roles in films like Shakespeare in Love and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel series. Just ask Gywenth Paltrow who earned an Oscar working under the filmmaker. Madden’s leading ladies bring their A game to his projects which usually helps out the B- material they are working with. The same formula is present again in the director’s new film Miss Sloane, which has some fascinating performances that rise above the sometimes typical legal thriller content.

Miss Sloane focuses on the shady world of government lobbyists and the direction they try to push our government in by any means necessary. Jessica Chastain plays the title character Elizabeth Sloane, a cut throat lobbyists who has come under fire from a Senate committee looking into her not so legal persuasion techniques. Sloane is the Alpha in the room no matter who is accompanying her at the time. She’s pulling all the strings in her favor whether you know it or not.

Just like in Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain shows in Miss Sloane she has the ability to play the ice queen if needed. She destroys whoever may question her methods to achieve the final result. She does not care and that’s what makes Miss Sloane a fascinating character to watch. Having other strong actors like the underrated Mark Strong who plays Sloane’s employer who constantly butts head with the feisty red-head over her unethical tactics creates an enjoyable dynamic. This is key for a film like Miss Sloane that relies on character interaction and it does not disappoint with Chastain leading the way sparring with the likes of Michael Stuhlbarg and John Lithgow on-screen. If anyone else was in the role besides Chastain, Miss Sloane would have been a bust.

The main issue with Miss Sloane is the film gets a little too cute with a story that twists and turns in an attempt to keep the audience’s attention. Some of Sloane’s future actions are completely telegraphed early in the film as the lobbyist attempts to get out of a jam against her opponents on the other side of the political battlefield. There’s way too much unwanted Hollywood treatment given to Miss Sloane with plot bombshells and flashbacks to explain how Elizabeth Sloane ended up on Capital Hill being investigated. All these dramatic curveballs are unnecessary when you have such solid work from Chastain as the charismatic lobbyist with ice water running through her veins. Even with a sub par plot that doesn’t match up to the strong acting taking place in Miss Sloane, the world of government lobbyists makes for a somewhat entertaining film thanks to the stellar Jessica Chastain.

Overall, I give Miss Sloane 2.75 out of 4 stars.

Follow T.M. on Twitter @tmpowellCW44 and become a fan on Facebook.

Read all T.M.’s reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell



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