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Miss Sloane is just short of a masterpiece. The fast paced, tightly edited political thriller is enthralling, portraying a completely realistic vision of politics that’s not unbelievable in the slightest. What’s impressive is how the film takes its realistic subject matter and makes it compelling; the smart dialogue and great performances move the film forward through the midst of a fairly dense story. Unfortunately, the film struggles with its conclusion, and the last ten minutes stretch the believability that had worked so well up to that point.

Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is a political lobbyist who leaves her longtime associate (Michael Stuhlburg) to aid an ambitious politician (Mark Strong) who aims to increase background checks for buying guns. The film doesn’t glamorize the subject, but it’s much less preachy than one may expect. This isn’t a story about guns, but more a story in which guns are the catalyst for an intriguing political cycle, with a constant sense of urgency and excitement coming from complex material.

While the ending is a let down, the film is full of great performances, specifically Jessica Chastain’s Academy-Award worthy leading role as the ruthless titular lobbyist. Great performances from Michael Stuhlburg and Mark Strong advance the film, and the entire supporting cast is brilliant. It’s a flawed film, but the film deserves endless praise for it’s diligent and thoroughly engaging political back and forth. Grade: -A