2016, dir. John Madden
“What? I didn’t even know there was such a movie!” – the general population.
This is one of those ‘hidden gem’ films that probably never even got shown at your local cinema. And even when it landed at the DVD store or got released on a streaming platform, you still probably didn’t take notice.
Normally a film with a fictional name as a title, and a big star acting the role, does incredibly well (Forest Gump, Benjamin Button, Oliver Twist, Robin Hood, Mary Poppins, Jack Reacher, John Wick, Ferris Bueller, Shane, etc)
But when Jessica Chastain rocked a role so well – why didn’t we know about it?
Well…It’s kinda hard to market such a movie, which means it’s a little hard to describe, so here it goes.
A super formidable lobbyist (Chastain) has been sought by gun manufacturers to change the minds of government officials who want to extend background checks on gun purchases. She is a sassy one-of-a-kind woman with only one option: to win.
It’s Jessica Chastain vs American Gun Laws. But with electrifying acting and a handful of plot twists.
REASONS TO OWN THIS FILM:
It’s a political drama for people who hate political dramas
There is a lot to take in at first, but once you’re past all the establishing, it quickly becomes a fast-paced drama that often steps outside of the political themes. It even treads into secret spy territory at one point.
Elizabeth Sloane is the political equivalent of The Terminator – an unstoppable force tearing through people, their careers, their talents and their loyalty, to uphold the American Dream.
The moments of deadpan humour pepper a dialogue-heavy script that is enjoyably easy to follow.
It’s a moral rollercoaster
One second you’ll be like “Guns are evil and should be banned altogether!” And then a few scenes later you’ll be like “Actually, it makes sense to have more guns.”
This film is brilliant at showing ‘both sides of the coin’ in sobering detail. It sheds light on the amoral realm of lobbying and often makes you question your stance on the whole scenario.
We learn that in Texas, dildos are illegal, but you can buy a shotgun in five minutes. (“That explains the low rate of dildo-related murders in Texas.” she quips)
Yet she makes an incredible illustration by joking with a colleague who is eating chocolate cake for breakfast. He corrects her by saying that it’s a muffin. She retorts by saying that both muffins and cake are baked with eggs, flour, sugar, cocoa and milk – That by rebranding cake as muffins, they can claim it’s not cake, and get away with it.
Miss Sloane herself is so cutthroat that even when she steps into legally forbidden territory, you still feel the need to take her side because she’s so good at her job.
My goodness – It’s near impossible to think of anyone else other than Jessica Chastain to play Miss Sloane. In fact, director John Madden only wanted Chastain to take this role and personally offered her the part.
She nails this character so well that one could even mute the sound and just watch her immaculate performance. It is a crying shame that her acting – and even this entire darn movie – didn’t receive a single nod at the Academy Awards.
Chastain is backed up by the fantastic Mark Strong (the two of them also appeared in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ together) in a terrific supporting role as the client who hires her. An ensemble of big names, John Lithgow, Sam Waterston, and Dylan Baker also makes for a powerful supporting cast.
However good they may be (and they are impressive), Chastain’s performance towers above rest.
Miss Elizabeth Sloane is so unstoppable and focused on her mission that we as the audience must follow her to the end – or else.
Her deviousness and audacity in the face of high-profile politicians will remind you of “that one friend” or make you say “I have an aunt like that”.
As a movie it got more and more exciting as the story unfolded – definitely worth a rewatch, which means definitely worth buying.
This film is a lot more fun than advertised.