By Troy Ribeiro
“Bombshell”; Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Mark Duplass, Rob Delaney, Malcolm McDowell, Allison Janney, Alice Eve; Direction: Jay Roach; Rating: *** & 1/2 (three and half stars)
Director Jay Roach’s “Bombshell” is a competently made dramatisation of the fall of Fox News Head, Roger Ailes. It will be familiar to anyone who has been paying attention to the discussions provoked by the #MeToo movement and also to more women professionals, for that matter.
It captures the unspoken pressures that keep sexual harassment victims silent and force them into situations where it seems almost impossible to say “no” with enough authority to make the predator stop.
This film gives us an insight into Fox News Corporation, through the eyes and experiences of three key women: Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) the superstar prime-time anchor, Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) the on-the-decline co-host of the show “Fox & Friends” and Kayla (Margot Robbie) a completely complexed and naive fictional character who is trying to work her way up the Fox Ladder.
During the viewing of this film, director Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight” surely crosses your mind many times. Both films deal with the subject of sexual exploitation, while “Spotlight” handles the subject sensitively, “Bombshell” is purely exploitative.
It is a scabrous docudrama that is borderline satarical, filled with double-entendres that are fully justified. They dive right into this raging cesspool of sex and politics with confidence and fervour. “It’s a visual medium,” and it plays that line, to the hilt.
Yes, bold and audacious, but not shocking in delivering its power-packed sting of truth. It is a drama that will compel anyone who cares about the interplay of personalities on-screen, and also the power dynamics between employees and their predatory boss (Roger Ailes, played by John Lithgow) to take notice of the subject.
Visually too, the frames are voyeuristic, the peekaboo shots from Lithgow’s perspective leave nothing to imagination. It takes pleasure in forcing the viewer into the scene as the tormentor.
Thus, the film is ironic by nature, true to the subject of internal misogyny and institutional corruption, but moralistically it does the same thing that the feminists are fighting against.
Nevertheless, the film strongly endorses that if people courageously stand up and speak out against impropriety and illegality, even against the rich and most privileged, justice can be attained and progress can be made.
The pace of film and the performances of the ace ensemble cast are what deliver the goods in a very convincing and engaging way. Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and John Lithgow immortalise the film’s most pivotal moments, throwing themselves into their roles with terrific zeal.
Overall, with the ever raging #metoo controversy, the audience of this film will surely be polarised.