Movie review: Miss Sloane

I was just musing to my better half: when did TV become better than movies? The question was in relation to what I think is stunning: the series, The Crown, as well as the start of the second season of Transparent. Wow.

Case in point: Miss Sloane. I had some high hopes for it. The pitch, exploring the world of lobbying and ethics, sounded fine, and I’ve not seen much of Jessica Chastain but she gets good reviews.

But it kind of seemed like a poorer version of TV shows that I’ve watched. Some court room scenes and shenanigans like the Good Wife, but without the wit and fast pacing. A protoganist who is ruthless and scheming and has questionable ethics.

Well, the Underwoods from the House of Cards would chew her up and spit her out for breakfast. And similarly, while Miss Sloane wasn’t particularly likeable: that’s not a problem. I could watch Robin Wright’s character on House of Cards all day long. I just didn’t find Miss Sloane very compelling, particularly as she’s a cypher: there’s absolutely no explanation of how she got to be the way she is.

Another trope from House of Cards, how to win votes and influence senators, felt plodding and unpredictable. Seen it. Other aspects of the film felt TV-like but not in a good way. The junior lobbyists are all roughly the same age, and a rainbow array of races and types and appearances. It felt very constructed. The pal I watched it with commented that it felt like it was dumbed down to appeal to a broader audience.

The hooker with a heart of gold idea was not made any more original by having the sex worker in question be a man. A scene where the courtroom gasps in shock that a male sex worker has female clients in Washington. Get over it, you old-fashioned prudes!

The pacing was really very slow, and overall the film lacked wit. But it wasn’t absolutely terrible. The actors were all very watchable, and I didn’t mind the preposterous ending, which at least gave me some drama. In fact, if the film was a faster-paced 90 minutes, I think I would give it a higher rating. As it was, it might have reached a 6.5/10 though was probably more like a 6.

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