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Miss Sloane

Cover Media logo Cover Media 18/05/2017

Jessica Chastain has a chameleon-like quality as an actress. And her role in political thriller Miss Sloane, in which she plays a ruthless, whip-smart Washington lobbyist is one of her most challenging yet - for the audience at least.

Jessica plays Elizabeth Sloane, a high-priced power-player who swims with the sharks, and is probably responsible for most of the blood left in the water. Dressed to kill in sharp designer clothes and towering heels, she’s humourless, terrifyingly blunt, and basically a version of Scandal’s Olivia Pope on steroids.

In the John Madden-directed film, Sloane is working for a top lobbying firm Cole Kravitz & Waterman, representing corporate clients and railing against big government. However, when one of those clients starts trying to kill a gun-safety bill, she jumps ship to help a smaller, liberal group to pass it, and brings her arsenal of dirty tricks with her.

The film opens when Sloane has been called to appear at a congressional hearing led by Senator Ronald Sperling (John Lithgow) to answer questions about possible violations of Senate ethics rules during her tenure at Cole Kravitz & Waterman. It then flashes back to cover the three months leading up to the hearing.

Sloane's firm is approached by gun manufacturing representative Bob Sanford (Chuck Shamata) to lead the opposition to the proposed Heaton-Harris bill that would expand background checks on gun purchases, specifically by targeting their message towards women.

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Sloane ridicules Sanford's idea and is later approached by Rodolfo Schmidt (Mark Strong), the head of rival lobbying firm Peterson Wyatt, to instead lead the effort in support of the bill. She agrees and takes most of her staff along with her, with the exception of her assistant Jane Molloy (Alison Pill) who refuses to leave.

What follows is a convoluted ride through the machinations of Washington’s lobbying world, the dirty tricks involved, with Sloane at the centre of it.

The movie boasts a stellar cast including Gugu Mbatha-Raw, with Lithgow doing a great turn as a gruff old senator.

Chastain gives a stellar portrayal of a woman who is completely unlikeable but is badass and the smartest person in the room. Who as well as being as warm as a block of ice, also has a penchant for male escorts, pops pills and eats in the same restaurant every day. But after she finally finds a cause she believes in, will do whatever it takes to get the gun control bill passed.

The plot is somewhat convoluted, and the final act, in particular, does take some unravelling, but the film is worth watching for Chastain’s mesmerising turn which earned her a Golden Globe nomination. It’s a peach of a lead role for the actress, which also helps to advance the typically limited portrayals of women seen on the silver screen.

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