(France/US/UK - 2016)
Directed by John Madden. Written by Jonathan Perera. Cast: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, Michael Stuhlbarg, John Lithgow, Sam Waterston, Jake Lacy, Christine Baranski, David Wilson Barnes, Chuck Shamata, Dylan Baker, Ennis Esmer, Raoul Bhaneja, Douglas Smith, Meghann Fahy, Lucy Owen, Michael Cram, Joe Pingue. (R, 132 mins)
A sort-of MICHAEL CLAYTON take on the gun control lobby, MISS SLOANE is fairly transparent end-of-the-year awards bait that works more often than it doesn't and serves as a reminder that movies for grown-ups used to not be such a rare commodity. The crammed story perhaps bites off more than it can chew yet still seems a little long running past the two-hour mark, and frequently seems like it could've been better served as an HBO or FX series. It also can't help but feel like Aaron Sorkin fan fiction, with debuting screenwriter Jonathan Perera slavishly devoted to the Sorkin style, from every line of dialogue sounding like an over-rehearsed proclamation to the presence of NEWSROOM co-stars Sam Waterston and Alison Pill to dubiously silly character names, though in fairness to Perera, neither "Rodolfo Schmidt" nor "Esme Manucharian" seem quite as improbable as Olivia Munn as THE NEWSROOM's chief financial reporter "Sloan Sabbith," though a point is made of Schmidt's middle name being "Vittorio." Though dealing with a topical subject matter, director John Madden (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL) gives MISS SLOANE a '70s aesthetic in its matter-of-fact, Alan J. Pakula-esque presentation, right down to a clandestine meeting in a dimly-lit Washington, D.C. parking garage that's straight out of ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN.