NICK’S NOTES: JOHN MADDEN’S MISS SLOANE

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Miss Sloane is an entertaining movie, despite the fact that I never fully believed all of what debut writer Jonathan Perera and veteran director John Madden were selling. Jessica Chastain anchors the cast, with a more robotic performance than I’m accumstomed from seeing from her; maybe it was the (purposefully?) stilted dialogue that felt awkward? The film felt Sorkin/Mamet-lite, and while I definitely admired the abundance of intense sociopolitical speechifying that was on display, the entire piece played more like a Hollywood concoction than the morally ambiguous insider-politics drama that was likely intended. Still, the film has some brains, it’s got some icy-cool style, and Chastain looks striking in her hard-red make-up, heels, and business suits. The strong supporting cast including Mark Strong, Sam Waterston, John Lithgow, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Michael Stuhlbarg all help to push the material over with class and integrity. Madden has had an odd career, definitely inconsistent but peppered with some strong efforts (I really like The Debt and Mrs. Brown, and his adaptation of Proof is underrated), and while Miss Sloane is eminently watchable, it never blossomed into the movie that I was hoping it would. Available on Blu-ray/DVD and via various streaming providers.

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