Friday, 12 May 2017
REVIEW: MISS SLOANE
132 Mins. Starring: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Pill, Jake Lacy, Sam Waterston & John Lithgow. Director: John Madden.
Miss Chastain. One woman. Millions of guns. In 'Miss Sloane', arguably the current best actor of our time Jessica Chastain plays Elizabeth Sloane. A D.C. lobbyist looking to oppose a bill in Washington relating to the rights and regulations of firearms. Yep, it's political. And hell yeah it's prevelant right now, as the double Oscar nominated Academy actress (how about another couple with her latest two?), who is standing up for womens rights and equal pay in a less than fair Hollywood stuck in the forties looks to take the fight all the way to the White House. With words, not weapons. And facts and figures, not what some would term, "fake news". Chastain's 'Sloane' looks to make N.R.A. gun nuts fold and fall like a house of cards. Even if those behind a desk in a suit and tie, armed to the blazer are packing more than a punch. As they more than passively aggressively threaten, "there's 5 million of us...and we're all armed". Red hot on the heels of standing on her own two up and against the Nazis in the true story of 'The Zookeepers Wife' and the incredible and inspired Mrs. Zabinski who hid 300 jews in her zoo during Hitler's occupation of Poland, the 'A Most Violent Year' actress goes against anything remotely of that nature and gives us one of her most powerful performances to date. In her 'Most' Lady Macbeth-esque, Machivellian machinations. More 'Zero Dark Thirty' than 'The Help', the influential 'Interstellar' and the out of this world 'The Martian' scene-stealer is giving us more and more of herself and films gravel grounded in the raw realities effecting us right now. Whether via a history lesson or a political one. Going all alone as Sloane, Jessica goes beyond tired gender stereotypes in this industry to show just what one person can do in the face of pure pressure. Whether political or by the pistol. But even under the gun, Chastain and 'Miss Sloane' are under compelling control.
Spotlight's shine on star and screen here in this desk debate heavy narrative like the time Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams et al took on the Catholic church in Boston last year and won. And just like that talk of the talk definitive drama, this gun issue still thrills and spills without a single trigger being pulled. As the central Sloane character and all the people in power she takes aim at really rings out. With this this just may be 'The Zookeepers Wife's' day, week, month and even year friends. As Jessica is about to play 'Molly's Game' and fans are also lobbying for this lobbiest to make for the perfect Poison Ivy in the forthcoming 'Gotham City Sirens' female-centric villain film from 'Suicide Squad' assembler David Ayer. The 'Huntsmen-Winters War' sequel actress is ice cold perfect and calculated in her reduction of arms. Prepared to be viewed as wrong all with the formidable forsight and fortitude to do the right thing, no matter the counter measure. After taking us to two 'Best Exotic Marigold Hotels' with retiring legends, 90's sweet love story signatures 'Shakespeare In Love' and 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' director John Madden (no, not the EA Sports guy) scores a touchdown with this one. As Q.B. for a very different and dynamic shift of tone in this political pounding that has so much to say from the hip. It's the type of D.C. drama in almost docu or T.V. series form that 'The West Wing's' Aaron Sorkin would be proud of. And something that in history and acting legacy will go down as something as important as Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman's typewriter Watergate journalists in the acclaimed 'All The Presidents Men', based on actual events or a true story we wish it was. Madden brings a measure of brilliance to this backroom white collar madness. Whilst an engaged Chastain behind the power suit shows the law a whole new order we wish we could all abide by. All to make the world a safer place beyond how the cliched saying goes. Gun lovers will hate it. And in America money wise it took just over half the figure of the population who carry firearms. But that's no reason to holster a clear critical classic. As movie fanatics will know it's not about money or those in "power" that try to oppose the meaning and message of this moving movie (see Chastain's 'Most Violent' co-star, the award worthy Oscar Isaac in his powerful 'Promise' of love in the face of war). There's so much more to the force of this film than bullets or dollars. And that's how you really effect global scale change for the better.
'The Zookeepers Wife' showed us what they did then. 'Miss Sloane' shows us what we can all do now. As with 'Zero Dark Thirty' ferocity Chastain hunts down this notion and anyone with a gun like she did Bin Laden. And joined by the strength of her. 00.30 co-star Mark Strong she has a lot behind her unwavering spine. No matter who looks to stab her in the back...or worse. The Great Brit Strong powers many pictures these days, from the Turing classic 'The Imitation Game' to the new Avenger Bonds of the 'Kingsmen'. But here he really leaves a mark. Just like stellar supporting actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw whose gone from 'Belle' to 'Beauty and the Beast' and beyond the wifely support of leading men like Matthew McConaughey and Will Smith in the revealing 'Free State Of Jones' and critical 'Concussion' respectively. Filmography versatile character actor Michael Stuhlbarg is also here on the reliable form of his life. Showing he's his own actor and more than someone that looks like Joaquin Phoenix's younger brother. Chris Evans' 'Snowpiercer' and 'Jessica Jones' Marvel P.I. actress Alison Pill also brings a dose of icy reality in this winter war over weapons in Washington. Whilst 'Law and Order' legend Sam Waterston with almost Watergate corrupt conflicted conviction believes he is going by the book (more old testament in his bedside table draw next to his sidearm and glass of water and false teeth), until Chastain's revelation turns the page. There's so much more to Sloane, from 'Carol' actress Jake Lacy lacing some love for sale implication subplot that screams for a deeper connection a cheque can't cut. To '3rd Rock' great John Lithgow's sly Senator, serving as judge, jury and gavel in this executioner debate. Reuniting with his 'Interstellar' grandaughter all grown up, Lithgow hasn't shone this much in cinemas since his 'Planet Of The Apes' rise. But from the frank face to facetime video screen opening to the brutal honesty and policy she emits throughout, no one chastises all the wrong today more than Chastain. But the wonder woman with the Black Widow do is doing more than just mouthing off on Capitol Hill. She's really saying something in a trumped up town and capital city that's forgot how to walk up the Lincoln steps of the mall and sit with honest Abe without looking like a Spacey-ed out caricature of presidency. This should grab their attention by the balls. Tell the leader of the not-so free world that ladies like this demand to come first. Even if they are in the line of all sorts of fire. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Zero Dark Thirty', 'The Zookeepers Wife', 'Spotlight'.