“Miss Sloane” not as smart as it thinks it is

Written by Jonathan Perera and directed by John Madden, “Miss Sloane” is the story of Madeline Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain), a political power broker who takes on the gun lobby and tries to press a gun-restrictions bill through Congress. As her enemies mount, including Senator Ronald Sperling (John Lithgow), her old boss George Dupont (Sam Waterston) and personal nemesis Pat Connors (Michael Stuhlbarg), Sloane is pushed her to ethical and legal limits.

The film does a good job of upping the stakes. At first, it’s just another case for Sloane and her colleagues. Then she takes the opposite position. Then friendships are splitered. Then things become personal. The deeper stakes raise the tension.

Chastain does a good job as Sloane in a role that could have been beefed up more. We know very little about her background and her internal motivations other than to win. What is her relationship with her parents? What led her down this path? Is she compromising her morals? Such details would help us identify with her.

The film is not as smart as it thinks it is. The audience can see the twist ending coming, and the quick dialogue is trying too hard to be Aaron Sorkin and not succeeding. It seems to be trying so hard to be a hot political drama with an urgent message about current times, but its story is just not interesting enough to warrant that consideration.

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