This is our first in an on-going series detailing films that were aborted mid-viewing, and why we couldn’t even finish them.
Directed by John Madden (THE DEBT), MISS SLOANE was Jessica Chastain’s most recent attempt at awards season, and it was a little too obvious. An actor going for awards is not a bad thing, but when the entire production, from script to cast to story to film advertisements was specifically centered around highlighting Chastain as a potential Oscar nominee, that amount of desperation is not usually a good sign.
A summary of the plot of MISS SLOANE is quick to show the irrationality of this film. Set in contemporary ‘House of Cards’ Washington DC, Chastain plays the ultra-tough, ultra-smart, and ultra-unforgiving Elizabeth Sloane; the most fearsome lobbyist in the city. As any good lobbyist, she will fight for whichever group pays the most…unless you happen to be the Gun Lobby. When the Gun Lobby comes knocking on her door for assistance stopping legislation that could make for extensive firearm background checks a national requirement, Miss Sloane says enough is enough and cannot support such evil.
Are we really to believe that the most cunning lobbyist in a city full of them, where loyalty is bought and paid for in boardrooms, has suddenly found a conscience? And that conscience happens to center around only one topic…a socially conscious cause that Hollywood award voters can support? And this all came out in an election year? I can almost see the screenwriters and producers congratulating themselves for the Oscars they will be taking home after Hollywood sees this film.
The character of Elizabeth Sloane was written by someone who has watched an incredible amount of Aaron Sorkin drama and found a way to replicate all of the Machiavellianism without any of the pathos that Sorkin employs to make his characters, if not likely, at least compelling. We are watching Sloane…seeing her cold, calculating behavior; waiting for reason to root for her, and it never comes. Not while she absurdly breaks down in a Congressional hearing and not while she repeatedly utilizes the services of a male escort. The notion that she has grown a conscience in an occupation where she undoubtedly had none to become so successful is illogical in the world the writer has created.
And that is why this film was aborted.
The Perpetrator: Screenwriter Jonathan Perera