Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Jessica Chastain, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, John Lithgow, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark Strong, Alison Pill, Jake Lacy, Sam Waterston, Dylan Baker
Written by: Jonathan Perera
Directed by: John Madden
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexuality
Running Time: 132
Date: 12/09/2016
IMDB

Miss Sloane (2016)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Lobby Horses

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jessica Chastain plays a fascinating role, an unapologetically powerful woman, capable of ugly behavior as well as kindness, and refreshingly unexplained; no flashbacks or psychological origin stories are provided. Her Miss Slaone is a lobbyist, who takes a big demotion in order to fight the gun lobby on a new gun control bill. Her sneaky tactics are the only thing that can take on the enormous budgets and influence of the powerful right-wing group. The screenplay by first-timer Jonathan Perera sounds well-researched, and characters spout interesting political rhetoric back and forth to each other, but the downside is that it doesn't often sound like people speaking; it sounds like dialogue. However, Chastain and the talented cast frequently manage to smooth this out, and eventually generate a decent amount of anticipation. Things come tumbling down during a fairly cliché denouncement, however. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, John Lithgow, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark Strong, Alison Pill, Jake Lacy, Sam Waterston, and Dylan Baker are among Chastain's worthy colleagues and combatants. Former Weinstein man John Madden directs competently, forgoing much of the shaky-cam and ill pacing he showed on earlier, middlebrow award contenders.

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