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Bombshell (2020) Review

by Ian Morton

Bombshell tells the plight of 3 women as they take on the head of Fox News, Roger Ailes. Having created one of the most successful news channels of all time, Ailes accomplishments came at the cost of the women in his office, creating an environment whereby women were often sexually harassed and only hired for their assets.

The women at the center of our story are the work of both fact and fiction. Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron take on the roles of Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly, the real reporters at the heart of the investigation, while Margot Robbie functions as a blend of the many other victims of the Fox News scandal. This allows Director, Jay Roach, to tell a much broader story, mixing the real time experiences of the Carlson and Kelly with the numerous accounts of others involved to great effect.

What keeps the film above water is the sheer strength of the performances. Robbie is her usual magnetic self in a role that requires finesse, balancing a lot of characters in her impressively understated style. Not wanting to be outdone, Theron is easily the strongest of the team, a sheer look conveying both the strength and frustration of ‘becoming the story’. 

What stops the film becoming great however is just how unbalanced the 3 narratives are. Although Kidman achieves just as much as the rest of the trio, the character is only used as a catalyst for the events, once the story is in motion, it’s really just a walk on part, forgotten as soon as the leaves the frame. An odd step considering that the events would not have happened if it weren’t for Carlson and her first accusations, and one that makes the film feel disjointed as a result.

What the cast and crew of Bombshell have done is create a compelling platform that carefully and proudly stands as part of the #MeToo movement. Although it’s held back by structural issues, it’s hard to ignore the gravitas of the events that took place, done justice by the performances at the heart of it. 

Bombshell is out in cinemas Friday 17th January!!

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