Here is Jessica Chastain flexing her extraordinary Meryl Streep-like range again and just about keeping this political thriller in the realm of enjoyable. Her character is Elizabeth Sloane, a ruthless Washington DC lobbyist so fierce that when she smiles her wolfish smile, baring teeth through blood-red lipstick, she looks as if she could devour a member of Congress in a single mouthful.
In the shadowy world of paid-for politics and special interest groups, Elizabeth is a power player, the go-to lobbyist for corrupt regimes and evil corporations. But when the gun lobby approaches her to sell guns to female voters, Elizabeth switches sides, joining a do-gooding firm of cardigan-wearing charity workers. Not so morally bankrupt after all. Surprisingly, considering she is the boss from hell – making 3am phone calls and publicly humiliating team members – her staff goes with her, mostly.
Chastain is a wonder. Her character could give cunning Cersei in ‘Game of Thrones’ lessons in wreaking vengeance – but we see her intelligence and, in the end, her human side. And she volleys the Aaron Sorkin-ish dialogue like Roger Federer at 124mph. All of which helps you overlook some plot implausibilities and unbelievable double-crosses.