Miss Sloane [SQ Inflight Entertainment]
This film laid on the strong, capable shoulders of Jessica Chastain. But otherwise, the film was an uncomplicated, wannabe political thriller that only superficially skimmed through the issues at hand. Similarly, other than the eponymous Miss Sloane, the other characters served to only advance the narrative and reinforce her badass-ry.
Director John Madden competently steered the story towards its inevitable conclusion, but with so much signposting and blatant foreshadowing, the audience was kept wanting the other shoe to drop rather than teetering on the edge not knowing how our anti-hero(ine) was going to win.
Writer Jonathan Perera similarly painted the whole scenario is broad strokes and never really explored new grounds. This could have just been an episode of a Shondaland drama and we would not have even noticed the difference. Even his characterisation of Miss Sloane, for all its blustering and balls-breaking innuendo, actually bordered on misogyny. If it was not for Chastain’s strong performance, Miss Sloane could have easily been just another angry white female that needed a man to save/balance her.
Chastain – in all her Amazonian make-up – ruled the screen. And she deserved better material. But as strong as she was, the material offered to her was too simple and it therefore was not surprising that she was mostly overlooked during the 2016/17 awards season.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw came closest to a rounded character, but eventually she served as nothing more than a plot tool with no real resolution to her arc or her relationship with Chastain’s character.
Mark Strong, Alison Pill and Michael Stuhlbarg were all competent actors but similarly they played stock characters: Boss-man who loves and hates the rebel he just hired, Minion-friend turned foe, Man who hates her just because.
If the producers had shopped this film to cable tv, stretched out the story to 6-9 episodes, and maybe even get Aaron Sorkin to write the script (looking forward to the Sorkin/Chastain collab that is Molly’s Game) this could easily have been a top-rated prestige drama. But as for now, it just felt like a network TV-movie political thriller bolstered by a great actress (hmmm…that sounds a lot like Viola Davis and How To Get Away With Murder).