At First Glance: “Miss Sloane”

Political films are tough. If a film drags or tries to do too much, the audience won’t be around for long. Hit too many things over and over, to the point of annoyance, there goes the audience. It’s tough enough to come up with a story people will care about, but how does one make it compelling? How does it become a film you must see? That’s the challenge, and only a select few, in any given year, seem to get it right.

The upcoming EuropaCorp film “Miss Sloane”, looks like one incredibly complex and captivating political drama that could really end up making a strong argument, as well as an entertaining film.

This drama stars Jessica Chastain (upcoming “The Zookeeper’s Wife”, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”), Mark Strong (upcoming “The Siege of Jadotville”, “Approaching the Unknown”), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (upcoming episode “Black Mirror”, “Free State of Jones”), Alison Pill (“The Family”, “Hail, Caesar!”), Michael Stuhlbarg (upcoming films “Arrival”, “Doctor Strange”), Jake Lacy (“Girls”, “Billy & Billie”), Sam Waterston (“Grace and Frankie”, “Anesthesia”), and John Lithgow (upcoming projects “The Accountant”, “The Crown”).

The film is directed by John Madden (“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, “Masters of Sex”) and written by Jonathan Perera.

The film is expected to open on Dec. 9, 2016.
Finally! Since hearing about this film and that it was going to be released this year, I have been waiting anxiously for a first trailer! With film’s starring Chastain, it doesn’t take much for me to get excited. As this film is a political thriller, I’m even more intrigued. How can you not be? It’s politics, centered on gun control, which is a hot button issue in the United States. The last time a film centered on guns, and thoroughly entertained me, was “Runaway Jury”. Hopefully this film can deliver like that one did. A huge upside to this, is that I’m already excited to see how the film explores Chastain’s character. There’s a very compelling story in there somewhere. Let’s hope Perera and Madden explore it correctly.

Continuing with the Chastain thread, for a bit more, she’s clearly got a great role. The first line out of her mouth, with the hard and very serious stare, is strong. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. But it doesn’t stop there. She continues to deliver a straightforward approach to her work, with scenes from the film playing out, and by the end, she just sends it on home! Chastain says, “It’s about making sure you surprise them, and they don’t surprise you.” I immediately got a strong sense of who she is with that simple exchange. I read somewhere that this is in fact that way the film begins. If that’s true, it’s a very bold way to start.

The rest of the trailer just then showcases the character. You don’t get much to judge the type of performance she’ll give, even though it’s a performance to get excited about. There’s a lot to expect from her with this film, and I’m confident that she’ll deliver. Mind you, this could just be the fact that this script was previously featured on the 2015 “Black List”, which is created to showcase the best unmade scripts currently around.

Back to the character of Miss Sloane. She’s ruthless. This is mostly showcased through the various scenes that don’t feature any lines of dialogue or dialogue spoken by another character. It’s powerful. I can see it through the way she dresses, reacts, which at times looks like she’s at ease, and then some. One other line in particular shows her dedication, and I’m betting there’s a deep personal reason for it. She says, “This is more important than my career.” And then the trailer continues with bits that show that so many people think she’s not fully thinking about what she’s doing. It doesn’t matter how courageous and right her cause may be, as she seems to be going about it the wrong way. I can’t wait to see this all play out. In so many ways, Miss Sloane could suddenly become an inspiration for many.

I’m about to dive into this bit on the other actors, which is the other reason one should be excited for this film, and who should appear on my screen? Waterston! It’s what happens when you have “Law & Order” playing in the background. That being said. Waterston is a great addition to this cast. Not simply because of who he is, but because, as one of the few characters that have a line of dialogue featured, he’s formidable. I’m a bit scared of him, and absolutely intrigued. I’m really hoping that Chastain got several opportunities to act opposite him. Being in the same film as Waterston is probably great, but if she got to work one on one with him, she’s even luckier!

Anyway, I’m excited! Also worth getting excited about is everyone else. For me, more so than most of the other actors, I’m thrilled about Mbatha-Raw being in this film. She’s slowly coming up and just making pretty good choices. This could really get her out there, once more, but also allow her to showcase that talent she clearly has. She was featured more than some of the other actors (Pill, who wasn’t even present, Lithgow, also not present, Lacy, possibly) and had me paying attention quickly. Mind you this was towards the end of the trailer, but with one line. She says, “You crossed the line”, which itself doesn’t sound great, but after everything else featured in the teaser trailer, she makes it sound as serious as it probably is. If I wasn’t hooked before, I definitely am. This teaser just works. I wonder what a full length trailer will showcase to have me even more excited than I am right now?

Political films are a tricky type of film to get right, let alone making at all interesting. For the few “The Ides of March” you always have an “Our Brand is Crisis” waiting around, trying to masquerade as a serious and worthwhile film? Where will this film land? It’s got so many positives, it’s almost painful too have to wait until December. Fortunately there’s all the other films coming out and Fall TV season, among other events in life, to keep me occupied. Last year was full of phenomenal films, of all sorts, but I’m beginning to wonder, which is a great thing, if this year might not be better than the last?

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