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Bombshell

Format(s) Available
DIGITAL
Opening Date
30 Jan 2020
Rating
NC16 Coarse Language and Sexual References
Runtime
108 mins
Language
English with Chinese subtitles
Genre
Biography, Drama
Director
Jay Roach
Cast
Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, John Lithgow
Synopsis
The Fox News playbook is turned on its head in this eye opening, irreverent and comically astute story of three heroic women who take on the network’s rampant culture of sexism and topple one of the world’s most powerful men, media giant Roger Ailes. The unfolding of this compelling showdown begins with three ambitious and remarkable women at three different stages of their careers. Their individual battles become headline news when their interweaving stories collide in one of the most salacious instances of corporate sexual harassment. In the spirit of THE BIG SHORT, it’s funny because it’s (mostly) true.  And it’s frightening for the same reason.
Reviews
By Flora  30 Jan 2020
Bombshell sees the downfall of Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) through the eyes and experiences of three key women: Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman), Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron), and wannabe-anchor Kayla (Margot Robbie).
 
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Inspired by true events, Bombshell is a dramatisation of the fall of Fox News head, Roger Ailes. The film gives us an insight of what happened at the Fox New Corporation, the sexual harassment and sexual exploitative activities the female news anchors went through during a time when the 2016 presidential campaign is in full swing.

We see the downfall of Ailes (John Lithgow) through the eyes and experiences of three key women: Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman), who spearheaded the lawsuit; Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron), the prime-time anchor who has a complicated work relationship with Ailes; and wannabe-anchor Kayla (Margot Robbie) who experiences the harassment first-hand. 

Bombshell opens with Kelly preparing to go on a Republican debate hosted by Fox News where she questioned Donald Trump on his previous remarks and comments on women. From there, Trump when on a series of tweets directed at Kelly, even making vile remarks about her menstrual cycle. It showed us the aftermath of it where Kelly even had an exclusive 1-1 with Trump. But while all that is happening on screen, the company is going into chaos. 

“Someone has to speak up. Someone has to get mad!” said Carlson to her lawyers which was the start of an uphill battle to gather evidence and ladies who were victimised on her side. Without her and other female employees knowing, this was also the start of a #MeToo movement that saw a drastic shift in the world. 

Known for this ‘twirls’ and being the ‘leg-man’, CEO sexual predator abuses his authority and demands his female ‘loyalty’ in return for an on-screen advancement. There is a scene in the movie where we see the haunting scene unfold with the overenthusiastic Kayla in the office alone with him, as he instructs her to ‘lift your skirt higher’ to ‘see her legs’ to the point it revealed her underwear. It is precisely the discomfort as an audience watching it that allows you to reflect on the actual situation that women went through over the years when someone of power and influence like Ailes could do… and that intended approach from director Jay Roach was so powerful that it rendered me as a viewer powerless. 

The screenplay may not be the most definitive #metoo film as it takes a surface view of the debacle. Though it gives us the storylines of the 3 main leads, their parallel narratives doesn’t have a collaborative wholeness of a revenge thrill. Sure, the female empowerment message is strong and well executed, along with the cruelly predatory actions from people like Ailes, but perhaps delving deeper into the aftermath of the scandal, or how these women band together will be able to push the film forward. However, Roach and screenwriter Charles Randolph gave their characters multi-layers - flawed and morally compromised women who are as clueless and helpless as they are ruthless and ambitious. 

When it comes to the cast, is what makes Bombshell such an intriguing film to watch. Theron is committed to her role and it’s clear that she has put in so much research to nail the demeanour, the thoughts and even the voice of anchor Megyn Kelly. Robbie’s Kayla has probably one of the more diverse character arc compared to the other leading characters. She comes off as a high-spirited and eager-to-please young journalist to her ultimate meltdown towards the end of the film. Lithgow’s portrayal as Ailes is worth a mention as he plays the petty, calm and manipulative sides of Ailes convincingly.  Even the supporting actresses like Kate McKinnon, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Live Hewson and Allison Janney were great. 

Bombshell may not be one that brings home a golden statue but it is an important film not to be missed. 
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