The gentle reader has no doubt seen the ads for the gun control infomercial disguised as a feature motion picture, “Miss Sloane.” The movie depicts a hard-bitten Republican lobbyist who has an epiphany when she is asked to conduct a PR campaign for an NRA-like organization to sell firearms as a female empowerment tool. Instead, she jumps ship to another firm that is pushing for a Brady Law “common sense” gun control law. According to the Washington Free Beacon, the movie tanked over the most recent weekend, only becoming the 11th grossing film in the United States and having the 79th worst opening of all time.

So, why did a movie that had a talented, A-list lead in the form of Jessica Chastain and a Washington intrigue plot fail so epically? It is not as if the film was a female “Ghostbusters” after all.

The main reason is that the people responsible for greenlighting this dud (pun intended) forgot the old axiom that if you want to send a message, use Western Union (or, in modern parlance, Twitter.) The adage goes double when the message is something that the majority of the potential audience finds abhorrent. In fact, the possession of a firearm is very empowering to a smaller and weaker female when confronted by a larger and stronger and likely male attacker. A lot of gun owners are women for that very reason.

Also, but all accounts, Sloane is a most unpleasant character. She is more than a little ethically challenged in winning the political battles she engages in. She has no personal life and has her physical needs taken care of by a male escort. Here the filmmakers violate another cardinal rule of motion pictures. The audience has to like or at least have respect for the main character.

That Chastain now has to have this turkey on her resume is unfortunate. She first became famous as a CIA analyst whose efforts were crucial in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in “Zero Dark Thirty.” She was also the commander of an interplanetary ship that helped to rescued Matt Damon’s character in “The Martian.” These films were great successes because, in part, people can relate to killing the most notorious terrorist of our times and rescuing a hero astronaut trapped on Mars. Undermining the Second Amendment, not so much.