With terrific casts on the frontline and backline, Bombshell might be explosive at some points, but mostly due to the sensational tendency—not for the way the heart of the story is told.
First of all, Jay Roach’s Bombshell reintroduces the villainous apparatus, FOX News, as a powerful entity—influencing the outcome of US presidential elections since Nixon’s era. And yet, things are about to get changed approaching the 2016 election a.k.a. the rise of the Trumpian emperor. The truth is about to unravel and the timing cannot be more precise; and, when it finally does, it’s an unprecedented bombshell for the industry.
The truth is decades of power abuse that leads to sexual abuse and harrowing rape culture within the vein of FOX News. The perpetrator is no other than the founder, Roger Aelis (John Lithgow). The Promethean figures to tear down the concealed practice are the fed-up women who work or used to work in FOX, represented in this movie by controversial anchors, Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman), as well as religious-conservative new girl, Kayla (Margot Robbie, on a respective, powerful performance following up Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood). Presented in a docudrama format, Bombshell is undoubtedly a powerful story in the wake of the #MeToo movement and, at the same time, a reminder to become self-aware.
Roach might treat the important story in a sensationalistic tabloid manner; however, he’s making sure that the message is delivered in its entirety. The thing with his version of Bombshell is the aim for objectivity. Being written and directed by men, this powerful story misses out the harrowing perspective of rape culture towards women by men of power. The detail and the actual gaze cannot be projected quite as honestly even when Roach’s direction attempts to stay in-tact with the virtue of the message. And yet, the irony should not hinder you from grasping the essence of this #MeToo movie even when the narrative is not that explosive.
Theron, who also produced the movie, makes this recent-historical drama her show. She transforms physically into Megyn Kelly along with the facial features and the voice—thanks to her holistic approach and the make-up prodigy, Kazu Hiro. The make-up artist (who also did the magic in transforming Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour) does the similarly exquisite job transforming Kidman and Lithgow into their characters respectively. While the make-up is glorious; it’s the acting that outshines the very same looks of opulence. Theron refuses to be apologetic to Kelly’s racist behaviors; but, she sympathizes with Kelly the victim. Kidman is possibly the most explosive material in this story; meanwhile, Robbie’s acting is totally subtle. While the story never quite explodes, the performances by its leading actresses are blasting here and there; the supporting performers, in the same manner, also excel. Kate McKinnon (Ghostbuster) portrays a fish-out-of-water friend of Kayla; while Liv Hewson (Santa Clarita Diet) and Brigette Lundy-Paine (Atypical) portray Kelly’s team-mate. The combination of experienced and young actresses blend perfectly in telling the unfairness towards women of all ages and generations.
Well, we know how the whole story rolls eventually. From there, Bombshell tells an impactful story unapologetically and emphatically to remind us of how the men’s world has often deliberately or unknowingly abuse women. This story becomes a reminder and a reflection at the same time, even when it often takes a sensationalistic manner rather than portraying how hurtful the whole thing is. It aims for a lighter entertainment than a complex observation; yet, it doesn’t matter. Now that Bombshell is an eventful story; can we wait for a movie against Weinstein?