Bombshell (dir. Roach)

Image: Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, and Margot Robbie in Bombshell © Property of Lionsgate [Source: IMDB]


A group of women take on Fox News head Roger Ailes and the toxic atmosphere he presided over at the network.

Director: Jay Roach. Starring: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow [15]

Bombshell is a movie that if you know what it is about or after you finish the film you will sit there and think about how topical it is. How it needed to be made and how it needed to be said to bring this issue to the forefront of peoples minds. It’s a sentiment I’m sure the filmmaker thought of when they were putting this together.

What was clearly the aim was something akin to the Oscar-nominated Spotlight. Real-life events, dramatised to a poignant and undeniable extent to illuminate the issue in a way only art can. For the most part, Bombshell does succeed on that, it ships three of the greatest female performances in the industry at the moment, three women that might otherwise be pointed at for their looks, but have instead made themselves world-class actors. To top it off Theron and Kidman don their roles to a point of near unfamiliarity with them on-screen – what I mean to say is they are verging on unrecognisable as they become chameleons of the screen. John Lithgow does the same who aside from his distinct voice you’d be hard-pressed to know he was in the movie without his name on the title cards.

But it’s not all flash and make-up. Each starring performer gives a sensational performance, most notably Lithgow and Robbie who are utterly believable and bring authenticity to their roles that is hard to question. There is an interesting dynamic to the movie, almost as if they know that many audiences might be drawn in simply due to the beauty being presented by the three stars, but that same-sex appeal is used against you in a seat twitching disturbing scene that amplifies the struggle that these women and many others, in reality, continue to be put through. Then while that beauty may have drawn you in, it’s the impeccable talent that is put on show and paraded in front of you. The direction of narrative and picture is in wonderful harmony, making every point sharp and carefully thought on to draw an audience into the dramatic reality.

Where the picture stumbles is in its execution of riveting drama. Halfway into the cat and mouse of the legal battle, it is as though the struggle is put into exposition delivered in short bursts as an annoying afterthought. An argument could be made that it is because it wanted to focus on the women and how they were affected but I’d argue that simply is not the case. Very little struggle is actually shown, very little legal fighting and character tension is obsolete. The story instead presents its drama as factual points that equal a well-informed lecture. Interesting but not exactly entertaining. It’s a film that certainly needed to be made for its thought-provoking alone but the bombshell it wanted to drop is akin to a pebble. It lacks power in its punch.

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