Here’s an excellent film that went under the radar: “Miss Sloane”, directed in 2016 by John Madden, with Jessica Chastain in the title role.

“Miss” Elizabeth Sloane is one of Washington’s most feared lobbyists. For those who do not know what the job of a lobbyist consists of, it simply boils down to influencing elected officials to preserve commercial interests, by orienting – or disorienting – the passing of laws favouring economic interests. It’s often dirty, and often contradicts the democratic process.

The film begins with a hearing before the U.S. Congress of Elizabeth Sloane, who is facing charges of ethical violations. The story is told as a flashback.

Three months earlier, a bill is under consideration in the US Senate to limit access to firearms by extending psychiatric background checks for potential gun buyers.

Sloane is approached by a new client representing the NRA (National Rifle Association of America) – a gun rights advocacy group – to have this bill buried.

Sloane refuses the assignment, which offends her personal convictions, and resigns from her position in order to join a tiny lobbying boutique advocating to pass the said bill restricting access to firearms.

The question is whether she will be able to convince enough senators – 16 to be exact – to oppose the NRA and free access to firearms. A game of chess begins, there are many twists and turns and the final move is totally unexpected, so much so that even the spectator is delightfully fooled.

I shall say no more about the plot, which unfortunately illustrates the exact intricacies of the American – and probably the European – legislative system, in which elected representatives align their votes with their personal interests.

Jessica Chastain, who is in almost every shot, plays an Elizabeth Sloane that is absolutely glacial, furiously unsympathetic and fearsomely effective. Her face is hard, indecipherable, and her outfits – often black and white – are a match.

The film is intelligent, clever, and Jessica Chastain plays the perfect femme fatale who – this time – will not bring down a man but an entire system.

The end justifies the means, that is her credo. I let you discover the end pursued by this chilled femme fatale… it is absolutely unexpected.

April 17, 2020

Alberta Ferretti dress – Banana Republic skirt – Fendi clutch – Valentino belt – O’Fée earrings – Gucci heels