Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie; three real-world bombshells come together in one film about a sexual scandal on television. Director Jay Roach seems to be trying to use the pattern of The Big Short film, but with less than satisfactory results.
Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) is a popular female news anchor who recently received bad publicity for attacking Trump at a political debate. On the other hand, Gretchen Carlson’s (Nicole Kidman) career seems to be on the brink after being moved to an afternoon segment that is empty of viewers and low in ratings.
Meanwhile, Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) is an ambitious young news producer who wants to become a news anchor at FOX News. FOX, a news TV station known for its opinionated conservative American values and it is common knowledge that its CEO, Roger Ailes (John Lithgow), likes to sell women’s sensuality. “This is the visual industry,” is a saying he often repeats.
Gretchen ended up suing the top man after he was fired. He felt his career was sabotaged because he did not want to compromise and refused Roger Ailes’ invitation to have sex.
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Charlize Theron and John Lithgow are deeply immersed in their roles. Theron even looks like Megyn Kelly in the real world both visually and in the way she speaks. And John Lithgow looked nothing like him; the look on his face in the scene with Kayla Pospisil was very intense and made the audience understand without words.
Unfortunately the role of Kidman seems insignificant here, while the Bombshell film centers on Gretchen’s demands on Ailes. Gretchen’s story seems sidelined even when compared to Pospisil’s. While Pospisil is just a fictional character.
Less documentary and less drama
Scriptwriter Charles Randolph seems to use a storytelling method that has proven successful in his previous film: The Big Short . Combining the documentary genre with drama so that the audience does not get bored.
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Unfortunately, he is less successful in this film, because unlike in The Big Short , it lacks data and detail. There are two main things in this genre of film. The drama portion is also reduced with the story about Gretchen that is not explained more deeply.
Complex subjects but less deeply explored
The Roger Ailes scandal is one of several major sexual harassment scandals in America. Like the case of Harvey Weinstein, this scandal can probably be traced back to his early years as a Fox News boss. A complex issue that is impossible to fully cover in a two-hour film. Bombshell’s choice to focus on several incidents and victims was right. But unfortunately not accompanied by more in-depth details. It would be more interesting if in this film Charles Randolph decided to lean more on the documentary side.