Does Jessica Chastain want to be George Clooney? She roars through this political drama, as glamorously cynical as his 2011 directorial effort The Ides of March, and plays a morally conflicted Washington lobbyist similar to the guilty corporate fixer he rode to an Oscar nomination in Michael Clayton. For years Miss Sloane has been known as one of the most formidable operatives in town, but when she's ordered to help defeat a gun-control bill for universal background checks, an unexpected (and unconvincing) attack of conscience impels her to quit her blue-chip firm and hire on with a smaller outfit on the opposite side of the issue. The movie shares with other mainstream political dramas an easy notion of Washington as a hopeless cesspool of sellouts, paybacks, and heinous personal betrayals; naturally the whole thing is framed by a televised hearing on Capitol Hill, where the heroine defends herself before a star chamber of old white guys and terrible secrets are revealed to a stunned nation. John Madden directed; with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, John Lithgow, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark Strong, and Alison Pill.
By J.R. Jones