A down-in-the-trenches Washington lobbyist (Jessica Chastain) brings her full Lovecraftian powers of manipulation to bear in order to push through a controversial gun bill. The opposition is not amused. Movies about political movers and shakers may be a scant form of escapism these days, but this gives off a tangible, absorbing hum, thanks to John Madden’s (Shakespeare in Love, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) clean direction and a razor-sharp screenplay by first-timer Jonathan Perera. (Removing those moments when the characters remark on the snap of each other’s dialogue definitely wouldn’t hurt, however.) Best of all, there’s Chastain, who cannily cherry-picks from her established personas to create a fascinatingly guarded, fiercely intelligent central figure: A successful, driven woman who can’t entirely tamp down her pleasure when people kiss her ring. Even if you don’t have the stomach for it right now, this one will keep.
Director: John Madden
Producer: Ben Browning, Kris Thykier, Ariel Zeïtoun, Claude Léger, Jonathan Vanger, Patrick Chu and Aaron Ryder
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jake Lacy, Sam Waterston, John Lithgow, Chuck Shamata, Douglas Smith, Meghann Fahy, Raoul Bhaneja, Grace Lynn Kung, Al Mukadam, Noah Robbins, Lucy Owen, Ennis Esmer and David Barnes