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WHAT'S NEW AT THE MOVIES?
Jessica Chastain’s ferocious star turn is the fascinating and stabilizing factor in this promising, but ultimately wobbly political thriller.
Sleek and contained, Washington lobbyist Elizabeth Sloane appears to be the best at manipulating to get what she, or those who pay her, wants. Yet, when she takes on the gun lobby, now working with a boutique team of do-gooders, Sloane’s rock solid veneer may not stay so bullet proof after all.
In his first screenplay, Jonathan Perera takes on a lot and, at least for a while, draws us in. We are rivited by the impressive and repellant Sloane and, let’s face it, we don’t get to see a lot of uncommon women leading in big budget movies these days. For those who are ready for a twisty, juicy political drama, the script goes for broke on that, too, before spinning too close on itself in what becomes a pretty silly ending.
Director John Madden has collected a nice cast and gives each a good moment or two to shine. But this is really Chastain’s show and it’s a treat to watch her not just take the ball but run with it. Her performance is chancy: there are going to be viewers who don’t “like” Sloane’s “I don’t care if you don’t like me” vibe. I, for one found it fascinating. There are women and men in this world who bully and intimidate their way to what they want, seemingly unfazed by the opinion or needs of others. This film allows people like that a cinematic focus. Perhaps after all the more traditional political breast beating of this movie, it is how we see and react to its core character that makes the most important statement of all.