So I wasn't initially going to write a full-length review of this film, but after it was over I felt....compelled...to do so. Look. I can't deny I love a raunchy political drama. Remember I'm the guy that searched out and watched Zipper back in 2015. Remember that one? Ya I'm sure no one remembers that one but me. I also love shows like The Newsroom, so it was also kind of weird to see Alison Pill and Sam Waterston playing somewhat similar characters. So I was excited to watch this! And initially after I completed it, I was smiling. Initially, I enjoyed it! That is definitely going to buoy my score, because as I started to really think about it.....I realized just how shallow this film is. This film is the political drama equivalent of a mindless popcorn flick, only it's trying to be more. Anyone who follows my blog knows I have NO problem with a superficial film that knows what it is. But, unfortunately, this film does not know it. And after I got over looking at this film and adoring Jessica Chastain, I started realizing this.
So, let's talk about what this film nails. For one, it is sexy as hell! The customers are fantastic, the colors are great, and everyone looks awesome. I don't think I've seen a film where Michael Stuhlbarg looks this good! And of course Jessica Chastain's hair and makeup is perfect in every scene, because of course it is. MAN do I love her. She is acting the crap out of this film and putting in one of the most overlooked performances of 2016. It's not perfect as there were a few points I found myself squirming, most notably when she had to convey anger, but it was certainly better than her performance in last year's Crimson Peak. But over all she does everything she can to hold this film up with her own two hands, and she looked damn good doing it. If only her character had any sort of depth.....
So let's start there, ya? Let's start with the main character, Miss Sloan. She is this extraordinary human being, who is always the smartest person in the room but looks at the world in a very different way. But, do we ever get an investigation of why she acts the way she does? Maybe some scenes where she describes her childhood to a coworker? Or flashbacks? Or really any sort of explanation of why she is the way she is? Nope! What's worse, we get the ol' "I don't have time to tell you" kind of excuse from the film when it flirts with her backstory, as if the screenwriters knew we'd be curious about it but said, "Nope! Don't wanna give you one because we want you to be sad." Additionally, and probably even more notably, was how superficial the rest of this film is. This film does the thing that you see in a lot of action films, like Jason Bourne, where the writers need to advance the plot to point B but feel the need to show you how they got to point B, which constitutes as the main characters standing in a dark room in the CIA going "Quick! We need to find out where the bad guy is!" *Violently bangs on keyboard* "There he is!" to get us there. Too many times in this film it looked like Jessica Chastain was just like "Quick! We need to find a weak point on this guy!" *Violently bangs keyboard* "That's it!" which I didn't initially notice as it was happening but realized soon afterwards. Finally, the ending? Meeeeeeh I don't know guys. Director John Madden and debut screenwriter Jonathan Perera (congrats to him-might not be the greatest script but still a heck of a way to start) both had pretty clear agendas in ensuring Chastain's character is portrayed in a specific way, but the more I thought about it the more I didn't buy it. I'd call this ending a swing and a miss.
In conclusion, while I can't deny this is a sleek and sexy film to watch, and it's covering a topic that is very engaging to watch be portrayed right now, (lobbying against the gun industry) but unfortunately it tackles this topic in a very shallow and superficial way. If it only realized this and adjusted accordingly, or turned this script into the beginnings of a TV show, maybe it would've stood a chance. But as is it's just another wannabe "serious" political drama trying to make a statement.
The Critique: Despite its sleek and sexy look and a great performance from Jesicca Chastain, Miss Sloan fails to make a lasting impression because of a shallow and superficial script.
The Recommendation: If you like Jessica Chastain or political dramas, you'll have fun. Everyone else? There are better films to watch out there right now than this.
The Verdict: 6/10 Above Average