“What the FOX?”
This bombshell couldn’t have dropped at a better time. The #MeToo movement has been in full force for a couple of years now, with victims coming forward and sharing their horrific experiences around sexual harassment. What happened in 2016 at Fox News, gets dramatised to make it more appealing for moviegoing audiences, but at the core of the story is nothing but truth. The horrendous events surrounding the allegations against CEO and Chairman of Fox News, Roger Ailes, are astounding but not surprising after more and more highly regarded and powerful men have been uncovered as sexual predators in the workforce.
Jay Roach‘s (Trumbo) newest drama follows Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron), Gretchen Karlson (Nicole Kidman) and Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) at Fox News. When Megyn prepares for the Fox News Debate, where she’ll go head to head with the person who’ll end up winning the presidential election, Donald Trump, she doesn’t shy away from confronting him with his outrageous tweets, in which he objectifies women over and over again. The film almost feels like as if you’re watching a documentary, while Megyn takes us on a tour of the Fox News building.
A confidently composed Gretchen meets with her lawyers, fed up with the comments her male co-anchors have made over the past couple of years and being demoted by her boss, Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). Her thoughts run through the speakers, while her lawyers ask her to hold on until they have a case to sue Roger and get ready to take down the “Loudest Voice” in the room. Kayla, who’s been working as an associate producer, is a conservative Christian who believes in a fair and balanced America. But when she gets to visit the infamous second floor, things get uncomfortably disdainful. Many of these women seem to be happy working for Fox News, but the truth is being muzzled. Thriving in a toxic environment seems to be the biggest excuse to stay, but others just can’t wait to prepare for the war that results in the ousting of Roger Ailes from the network.
The acting ensemble alone is worth the admission. Charlize Theron (Long Shot) transforms into Megyn Kelly, you’d think she’s a clone. Her characteristics, facial expressions, the voice, are perfectly under control – it’s uncanny. Margot Robbie (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) as Kayla, captures the America the way non-Americans think all US-citizens are. To see her character truly evolve through a traumatic experience, will leave you sympathising for her. She gives one of the finest and delicate performances of her career. When it comes to Nicole Kidman, it seems like Big Little Lies co-star Meryl Streep has rubbed off on her in a way. Her acting is nuanced, as she brings an energetic confidence to the film, many people should applaud.
Although the script and direction of Bombshell are somehow a bit basic, the film as a whole gets carried by our main trio of actors and a ton of extras – what a cast. There’s some goofy make-up work to resemble some unexpected faces you’ll recognise from the news and Australian media magnates Murdoch and sons, are as menacing and cut-through as you’d expect. Bombshell is a must-see for every woman, in any field. Sexual harassment is not a new phenomenon, it’s something that should be eradicated everywhere and this film does a phenomenal job at doing just that. Don’t worry, it’s still entertaining and definitely one of those films that will make people talk for long after.
Review – ‘Bombshell’
Reviewed at Palace Central, Sydney, Dec. 11, 2019. Australian Classification: M. Running time: 108 min.
PRODUCTION: A STUDIOCANAL release, in association with Annapurna Pictures of a BRON Studios, Creative Wealth Media Finance, Denver and Delilah Productions, Lighthouse Management and Media, Lionsgate production. Producers: A.J. Dix, Aaron L. Gilbert, Robert Graf, Michelle Graham, Beth Kono, Charles Randolph, Margaret Riley, Jay Roach, Charlize Theron. Executive producers: Jason Cloth, Chris Conover, Megan Ellison, Ashley Levinson, Richard McConnell, Anjay Nagpal.
CREW: Director: Jay Roach. Screenplay: Charles Randolph. Camera (color, widescreen): Barry Ackroyd. Editor: Jon Poll. Music: Theodore Shapiro.
WITH: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Allison Janney, Malcolm McDowell, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Liv Hewson, Brigette Lundy-Paine.