“People don’t stop watching when there’s a conflict. They stop watching when there isn’t one.”
It’s been a busy few years with the firings of several powerful men who have sexually assaulted women, or in Kevin Spacey’s case, young men. It’s only fitting that Hollywood would turn that into a cash cow, which leads to the recent release of Bombshell. Bombshell tells the true story of the 2016 chaos surrounding, Fox News and its journalists, due to an exceeding amount of sexual assault accusations. The main ones, of course, surrounding Fox News CEO, Roger Ailes. As the allegations become widespread throughout the news, the Fox News employees decide which side to fall on, and if the truth means more to them than their career. Yes, it’s a tough pill to swallow no matter how you choose to bring it to the screen. But with a true story as incredibly scintillating as this, Bombshell deserved to be better.
To put it bluntly, there is so much more that could have been done with this film. Don’t get me wrong, Bombshell has an astounding cast. Charlize Theron being the best as she plays former Fox News journalist, Megyn Kelly. Theron is magnificent in her portrayal of the journalist, who during 2016, was fighting the cruel words of Donald Trump, and also fighting the toxic environment of Fox News. It’s clear that Theron is a front-runner to be nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. However, though she is the pinnacle of Bombshell, I have seen Theron in better performances. Along with Theron is Margo Robbie, who continues to exhibit her fresh talents throughout various genres. Robbie, who plays fictional character Kayla Pospisil –a hybrid version of the other women who came forward with allegations against Ailes — has a pivotal scene that changes the course of the film. Though she may not have many incredible moments that “wow” the audience, she definitely makes up for it in the end. But still, Robbie’s lack of amazing scenes begs the question as to why she didn’t have more moments to shine. This brings me to my point about Nicole Kidman’s performance as Gretchen Carlson. First and foremost, Kidman severely lacked in her appearance of Carlson. Unlike Theron who looks just like Kelly, Kidman fails to make that connection between her and the real-life character. But like Robbie, Kidman didn’t have the opportunity to fully exhibit her talents. As the woman who jumpstarts the sexual harassment allegations, there could have been more opportunities to create scenes for Kidman during the uprising. But no, sadly Kidman spends most of her time onscreen talking to her lawyers, or reading “late-breaking” articles about the ongoing investigation.
I’m sure you already understand my opinion of Bombshell, but as an incase, the film is extremely lackluster for a story of this caliber. Screenwriter Charles Randolph should have better utilized the situations, and Fox News spiraling out of control. There’s a certain element of scandal that never fully shows up, and so many terrible things that are just glossed over. Bombshell lacks the gut-punch that it so desperately needed to bump it up from okay to outstanding.
Bombshell has a titillating story that could have warranted some more “pushing of the envelope.” Instead, the film sits on its hands, unable to fully grasp the issue by the horns. To be quite honest, it would be more interesting to just watch the news clips than to watch this film.
Directed by: Jay Roach
Written by: Charles Randolph
Starring: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Kate McKinnon, and John Lithgow