Review: Bombshell

14 Jan 20

A thoroughly enjoyable film, Bombshell manages to strike the elusive balance between humour and drama and contains an unexpected amount of levity considering the subject matter.

The characterisation of the environment at Fox News as a sort of daytime soap hellscape workplace dripping in racism and misogyny was sharp and amusing, and I enjoyed the cameos from a variety of “oh, that person” actors as recognisable real world figures within the Fox News sphere.

John Lithgow is suitably repellent as the blustering and lecherous right wing shitbag Roger Ailes. Margot Robbie is solid as the wide eyed millennial evangelical Kayla and Kate McKinnon as Jess was a delight, I particularly enjoyed the friendship between Kayla and Jess even if it didn’t feel entirely believable to me. Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly and Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson embody the characters impressively and they feel real and human, though I can’t help but feel the movie goes a little light on them.

Which bring us to the film’s glaring flaw - its reluctance to interrogate the politics of the lead women and the hateful rhetoric they espouse. Given this is being touted as a #MeToo movie it seems short sighted to not deal with the elephant in the room – these same women’s attacks on other women and their outright racism (which is not entirely skipped over but may as well be). Also less than ideal is how the camera lingers on Margot Robbie’s body during a particularly upsetting scene. While it was clearly a directorial choice to have the scene shot through the male gaze it felt gratuitous and unnecessary. I could have done without it and think it detracts from the film.

That being said, the film is strongly acted, well drawn and still a lot of fun which is not something I expected to be saying about a film covering sexual harassment and assault. Would recommend.