What it’s about:
Elizabeth Sloane is a Washington lobbyist who surprises everyone when she switches sides on an important issue. Everything is not what it seems in this movie that is as much about gun laws in America as one woman’s battle to accept what she has done and who she is.
What we thought of it:
To find a political thriller lead by a strong female character is a rarefied thing in Hollywood. So I was excited to go and watch this movie, but I can’t say that it was all that I expected. Most of this big studio film was above average but there were points that were weak and they ultimately stopped this good movie from being a great one.
That’s not to say that the suspenseful flick is overwrought, it is full of delightful twists and turns. Jessica Chastain is an amazing lead and delivers in every scene. Supporting actors like The Newsroom’s Sam Waterson and Alison Pill also shine in their scenes.
Other technical points like the editing and cinematography are well done. I just felt as though the lead character was written in way that didn’t illicit sympathy or even empathy. There are some who might say that she is an anti-hero and therefore not meant to evoke feelings of sympathy. But the cinematic and television world is full of likeable anti-heroes who evoke sympathy and manipulate you emotionally into loving them. Like Orange is the New Black’s Piper Chapman or Marvel’s Jessica Jones or even Wolverine.
The script made me feel as though character development was an afterthought. Like the twists and turns were thought of first and then they had to work out how to get the lead character and supporting cast to those points.
Even though the protagonist is female that didn’t stop some of moments in the film from perpetuating the sexist idea that a career driven woman is somehow broken for putting herself and her career first. There was also a moment where a male character – with whom Miss Sloane was intimate – swoops in to save her by lying on the stand. I felt that was unnecessary. The film didn’t need a love story and neither did the protagonist. Because it didn’t give Miss Sloane, as a person, more light to offset the seemingly hallow darkness. That’s what I feel sets the stories of likeable well written anti-heroes apart from characters you just end up hating. You can see glimpses of the good person underneath the entire movie and then at one important moment they surprise you.
The best part of this movie for me was the end. The last few moments of the whole thing where Jessica Chastain was allowed to give the character some sense of humanity. I wish that this story of someone changing their life was better done; it could have been a real heavy hitter. It could have been a contender.