Miss Sloane (2016)
Cast includes: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), John Lithgow (Interstellar), Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Alison Pill (Snowpiecer), Sam Waterston (Law & Order), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Concussion)
Director: John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Genre: Drama | Thriller (132 minutes)
Liz tells her team, “Lobbying is about foresight… a good lobbyist plays her trump card… just after they play theirs.” But now her lawyer is preparing her to testify… Miss Sloane, Can you please describe the nature of your job.” “On the advice of counsel, I decline blah-blah-blah…” Later in Caucus Room Four, Congressman Sperling begins the questioning… which takes us to flashbacks from 3 months ago. Liz is a powerhouse lobbyist at Cole Kravitz & Waterman. Today is the day Jane, her indispensible assistant, says she’s quitting to go back to school… not sure she’s comfortable with what they do here at CK&W. “If you don’t like it, you should work to change it,” says Liz. In the meantime, Bob Sanford is apprehensive about meeting the infamous Liz… “I hear she doesn’t go for the kissy-face stuff like most women.” (You’d think Sanford was the one who needed to impress… not the other way around.) He has a plan to win over women, convincing them to oppose gun safety regulation. The idea is clearly ridiculous and Liz rudely declines… which is a big problem for her boss, who definitely wants this client.
Determined to get back to work on the Indonesians/Nutella deal (whatever that is), Liz is sidetracked yet again. An offer from Rodolfo Schmidt working for Paterson Wyatt, turns out to be too tempting to walk away from. She’ll be lobbying against the gun lobby and the likes of Bob Sanford. In leaving CK&W, Liz takes all but one member of her team… making this a blood feud for sure. Surprisingly, it’s Jane who doesn’t go… looks like her high morals aren’t that high after all. Liz’s new company has some smart employees, but they’re far too laid back. Even though they’re working towards the same goal, there’s going to be a clash of cultures. Rodolfo wants her to cut “the James Bond shit,” but Liz still pushes right up to the limit and achieves some impressive early wins. In a move to stymie Liz’s success, CK&W makes an unexpected move… going after Liz on personal ethics issues. This brings us to the hearings in Caucus Room Four.
Miss Sloane is a slick, fast-paced white-collar thriller. Liz is not an easy character to like… over medicated, fast-talking, and totally lacking in normal humans interests. “Normal is overrated.” Yet she has strong principles… or does she? Her former assistant, Jane, is now her primary adversary. Even Jane has to admit, no one can ever really anticipate how Liz will play her hand. The twists, turns and rapid-fire dialog are a bit tedious at times… but it’s still an impressive accomplishment for first-time screenwriter, Jonathan Perera. Fans of suspense thrillers will easily recognize many tells… those little clues dropped along the way that will become meaningful as the plot unfolds. But to the delight of thriller fans, this plot takes a well thought-out and unexpected turn. Elizabeth Sloane is nothing if not unpredictable... a good lobbyist holds her cards close to the vest. That’s why it’s dumbfounding that Liz has gotten caught in personal ethics issues that can derail everything. Perhaps she has temporarily forgotten her own watchwords… “In this town, you’re never more than 2 feet away from a rat.”
3 popped kernels
The true story of the Reagan-era bust of the Medellin Drug Cartel
Rated: R (Language, Sexual Content)
Gender Style: Bold
Distribution: Mainstream Wide Release
Tempo: Zips Right Along
Visual Style: High-End Production
Nutshell: Pro and anti gun lobbyists
Language: True to life