Film Review: Bombshell – 7.5/10

‘People don’t stop watching when there’s a conflict. They stop watching when there isn’t one…’

Bombshell trailer and true story behind the film

Around a year ago, I started to phase swearing out of my writing. I’m not really sure why. I think delivered properly, a well placed f-bomb can be a thing of poetic beauty. I guess it was a concession that I’m not a good enough writer to use swearing effectively. So, bear that caveat in mind when I say that Fox News are a fucking disgrace.

In a world where barely any media publication can be trusted to be broadcasting anything remotely close to the truth, Fox News are the absolute lowest of the low. The nadir of communications in the western world. All of the shittiest, most vomit inducing takes can be found in the belly of Rupert Murdoch’s beast. It is, quite simply, a vile organisation. A cesspit. Remarkably, all this was true even without the various accusations of sexual harassment that have plagued the network in recent years. Bombshell tells the story of the women at the centre of those allegations, and it tells it well.

Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) are both female anchors for Fox News experiencing juxtaposing professional trajectories. Carlson is on the way down after refusing to tow the party line, while Kelly is at the top of her game. Bombshell is the story of these two women and how their bravery helped to bring down a dynasty.

While both Kidman, and particularly Theron, are excellent here, Bombshell is very much an ensemble piece. John Lithgow convinces as both sexual predator and world weary businessman in Roger Ailes – the network head at the centre of the allegations – but a supporting cast of Margot Robbie, Rob Delaney, Mark Duplass and Kate McKinnon ensure that Bombshell is compelling throughout. Charles Randolph (writer of the The Big Short) manages to turn a story about a bunch of people I’ve never heard of into a relatable and captivating biopic. And at little over 90 minutes, director Jay Roach has produced a film that never outstays its welcome.

My one criticism of Bombshell is that it could perhaps of been even more scathing in its takedown of Fox News. There is no real mention of their many insidious agendas aside from the sexual harassment, and Rupert Murdoch – that great snake of our time – is let off with barely a mention. The backdrop of the Trump presidency never really pays off either. There was an opportunity here to make something truly courageous, something that could have systematically initiated change within the entertainment industry.

But then… it’s only a movie, and perhaps I expect too much. And in purely cinematic terms, Bombshell must be considered a raging success.

Fuck Fox News.

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