With its dramatization of real-world events, and damning representation of the metropolitan elite, it’s hard not to compare Bombshell to films like The Big Short; sadly, the former lacks any of the directorial flair of the latter. Director Jay Roach seems to meander from scene to scene without any real pace or variation, and the result is a plot that seems distinctly flat. The killer punch never lands and it’s a shame given the severity of the topics at hand. At times it feels like the film chooses to skirt around its message, rather than go for the jugular. Even more frustrating is the film’s score. One could argue that the quiet, downplayed style reflects the subtlety of the evils on show. The downside is it’s just not very exciting.
That being said the talent in front of the camera do a wonderful job of compensating for the rather mediocre performance behind the camera. Margot Robbie, Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman play three women all working at Fox News, with various levels of seniority. However, these three “bombshells” have a bombshell of their own; each are victims of sexual harassment at the hands of Fox CEO Roger Ailes (Jon Lithgow). All three of the leads do an exceptional job of capturing the harrowing nature of their differing assaults, particularly in their portrayal of the snowballing circumstances which lead them there. Likewise, Lithgow adequately displays Ailes perversion in a way which makes him seat-shiftingly unsettling yet believable, never resorting to moustache-twirling villainy. It’s also worth mentioning the exceptional prosthetics which only serve to enhance Theron and Lithgow’s performances.
It’s safe to say the actors carry Bombshell. Their portrayals, combined with the uniquely chilling score, give real clout to the films message, highlighting the minute details which permeate our society and allow institutional misogyny to exist. It’s a shame that the rest of the film doesn’t expand on this, exposing these toxic environments without fully committing to their condemnation.
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