Bombshell is a film that wants you to pull your hair out with anger until your skull starts bleeding. Bombshell is not just a film about exposing corruption, it uses half its run time shadowing a tiny sliver of disgusting behavior that's vile enough to make coming forward look easy. Bombshell has the impending sense of watching someone else's downfall and it's not one that's going to make audiences exhale with relief. While cinema continues to reside on the safe side in regards to verbally addressing sexual misconduct, Bombshell is still a chilling spark of excellence thanks to Jay Roach’s bravery and that of his completely sensational cast.
Bombshell is taken from the accounts of several women at Fox News who set out to expose CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. I bet that you all heard the names Roger Ailes, Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson even if you don't know who they are. Not everyone watches the news but not hearing about it just a little is impossible in today's world. You don't even have to own a television set. But if you did for sure Bombshell is its own channel and it won't be changing its station anytime soon.
Women who are sexually harassed are treated as food and that's exactly how Kelly and Carlson were portrayed, only in a deeper sense. Charlize Theron’s transformative descent into Megyn Kelly isn't just about her Oscar-worthy hair and makeup team. She embodied Kelly’s mannerisms inside and out. She unveils the tapestry of Kelly’s silent anger and lets audiences sample from it on a dining cart.
Kidman is no stranger to roles as women who are taken advantage of, but her approach to unraveling Gretchen Carlson makes the real women seem as though she's taken up residence inside Kidman’s skin. Carlson’s misfortunes are Kidman’s baking ingredients and the desert she offers up may not be sweet but it's edible.
Margot Robbie’s Kayla is Bombshell’s unsung hero. There's something about the way she interacts with people that makes you root for her and fall into despair when the script briefly leaves her behind. Kayla is an aspiring news anchor who is new at Fox and it doesn't take long for Ailes’s revolting mouth to start watering for her. Audiences often underestimate the power of what actors can accomplish with their eyes. Eyes are words for characters in positions where they can't use their voice. Audiences with clear sight will see why Robbie’s received Golden Globe and SAG nominations.
She wasn't as present in Bombshell as I'd have liked her to have been but when she is, her talent is on fire. She first meets Ailes and she's confident and talkative and she really unloads the beauty of her ambition. She provides an admirable portrayal of wanting something passionately as opposed to selfishly. By the time the scene ends, Kayla’s eyes are locked and bolted in utter numbness. She walks slowly, her head up and her eyes looking down. She's been bitten by a snake and she doesn't know how to keep the venom from spreading.
John Lithgow’s performance as that monstrous snake is as slimy as a snake. Ailes was someone who causes edgy discomfort upon looking at him and Lithgow effortlessly pulls that off in a matter of seconds. The hair and makeup team were professional warriors as every character was made to look the part. The score was serious but occasionally had a playful tone to it that symbolizes the shock of what's to come.
Bombshell is a very political film in regards to gender. Men and women are already divided enough as it is. No one deserves to be sexually harassed regardless of their political beliefs but Bombshell is a stressful reminder of where we're at right now in our country: Someplace I fear we’ll always be. A place where we're constantly being told to be respectful of those who have different political beliefs. A place where we're told we just need to find common ground with one another. These naive statements have always pissed me off but seeing Bombshell made a volcano erupt at the top of my head. WE CAN’T DO THAT!
Look at the sexism and conservatism you see in Bombshell and then ask yourself if finding common ground seems possible. So many individuals in Bombshell behave so atrociously that finding common ground seems like absolving hateful people of their bad behaviors. You can't reason with them nor should you begin with. Some things are just too big to tolerate and the political and sexual mindset of Roger Ailes is at the top of the list.
I usually try to stay away from politics in my reviews but with Bombshell, it's impossible because it rips all your feelings out of you. Bombshell drove me to express a reaction this strong because the level of corruption I saw was so high. Gretchen says at one point, “Someone has to speak up. Someone has to get mad”. That's exactly what Bombshell did to me and what it'll do to all the audiences who flock to the theater doors. Getting mad isn't pretty but in Bombshell, it seemed to do the trick.
Men really need to get more involved in the #metoo movement. Many don't out of fear of saying something that will come out wrong. There's also the male victims of sexual harassment. They've always been less likely to come forward. That will always be. As much praise as I give Bombshell, I have a legitimate concern that the film will scare decent men even further into the darkness where they're too afraid to get involved in a cause that's more important than ever.
That men and women will be divided further. Maybe I'm painting the picture blacker than it is due to the overwhelming state I'm in having just seen Bombshell. Maybe it's naive but maybe Bombshell will inspire men to become more involved in this issue. I hope it does. Regardless, I still strongly encourage everyone to gather around and attend one of the year's most politically provocative films. The person you were before seeing it may not be the same one you walk out as. That perhaps may have been Roach’s whole intention, to begin with.