Hit and Miss Sloane

Sometimes a film that you didn’t think much of at the time, stays with you and grows on you until you feel compelled to see it again. You convince yourself you have missed something and that it is actually much better than you originally thought.

Similarly, there are other films that you thoroughly enjoy at the time, and come bouncing out of the cinema after seeing, which start to fade almost straight away. By the time you have talked about them and thought about them for a while, it becomes clear that they really weren’t the masterpiece you first thought after all.

Sadly, Jessica Chastain’s Miss Sloane falls firmly into the second category here.

Roused by a great twist towards the end, which made me want to cheer and whoop out loud, violating the Wittertainment Code of Conduct in so many ways, I came out thinking this was a great thriller. As a fan of Aaron Sorkin shows such as The Newsroom and The West Wing, Miss Sloane ticked a lot of my boxes for entertainment. It even had a few Sorkin alumni in the cast to make sure the viewer made the connection, and Sam Waterston and Alison Pill put in solid performances.

(It has to be said that Sam Waterston is one of the most effective swearers in Hollywood. It feels like watching your cuddly grandpa swear and he achieves an impact that more foul mouthed actors can only dream of).

The plot seemed fairly intelligent and had a few nice twists and turns along the way, and Jessica Chastain was suitably bad-ass as the hottest political lobbyist in town.

I came out smiling and felt properly entertained, rather than insulted by mindless SFX and bland dialogue (You know who I’m talking about, Spidey). So what went wrong?

Sadly, the great twist that I had enjoyed so much, made no sense at all when I stopped to think about it. It just wasn’t even remotely feasible. Similarly, Chastain’s performance as the titular Miss Sloane had very little depth to it once you wiped away the stylish veneer, and I became almost annoyed by the fact that the two dimensional writing had hoodwinked me so easily.

Perhaps I have been spoiled by the sheer quality of Aaron Sorkin’s writing, especially the way he makes every character count, in a way that many in Miss Sloane simply didn’t. He was certainly conspicuous by his absence here. The dialogue here was good, but it never came close to his searing wit or break-neck pace.

Now I appreciate that it is not really fair to compare Spider-Man with Sorkin, they are doing completely different things for different audiences with different tastes. However, if you are going to set your movie firmly on his turf (and even cast his actors), then you need to raise your game to match.

So even though I originally thought that this was a hit, and had even planned my DVD purchase, ultimately Sloane really was a miss.

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