An ambitious lobbyist faces off against the powerful gun lobby in an attempt to pass gun control legislation.
ActorsStarring: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Pill, Jake Lacy, John Lithgow, Sam Waterston, Jack Murray, Grace Lynn Kung, Raoul Bhaneja, Chuck Shamata, Douglas Smith, Meghann Fahy, Lucy Owens, Alexandra Castillo, Ali Mukaddam, Doug Murray, Michael Cram, Dylan Baker, Zach Smadu, Austin Strugnell, Noah Robbins, Aaron Hale
Elizabeth Sloane (played by Jessica Chastain) is a high-powered Washington political lobbyist, the high-class firm she works for being engaged by clients to influence bills that affect their client’s interests going through Congress. Miss Sloane is at the top of her game, but makes a surprise career move when presented with the chance to take on the gun lobby on a bill to enforce background checks for all on gun buyers. Does she really believe in the cause, or is she simply intrigued by the challenge of “winning big, bigger than I ever have before”, despite the formidable opposition of the well-funded gun lobby.
This is an old style political thriller, its twists and turns centred on Miss Sloane’s strategy to overturn the vastly better resourced opposition. The fact that it does not drag for a minute is a testament both to its director John Madden (who made Shakespeare in Love amongst others) and the skills of Ms Chastain, who is utterly convincing as the hard-boiled, ice-cold political strategist. Her character is ruthless, takes drugs to stay awake, has a phenomenal work ethic and has no time even for a love life, hiring male escorts to satisfy her when required. The wonderful John Lithgow has an excellent cameo as a sleazy senator drafted in by her opponents to conduct a senate inquisition into her practices in order to hobble her. There is also a nicely understated performance by Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a junior lobbyist thrust into the spotlight, and into potential danger.
The film’s climax is clever but didn’t ring true to me, but is pretty much the only real flaw in the film, which successfully portrays the seamy underside of US politics and manages to keep the audience’s attention while it does it.