A killer cast heads up a look at the toxic culture at US bastion of conservative coverage Fox News, and the clean-up operation as it unfolded.
Mostly based on fact, Charlize Theron plays Fox stalwart Megyn Kelly, Nicole Kidman steps into the high heels of the network’s Gretchen Carlson, and Margot Robbie plays the fictional new hire Kayla Pospisil.
Kelly is dealing with events surrounding her interview of then US presidential hopeful Donald Trump, in particular the ensuing “Tweetstorm” from the prominent Twitter fan, unhappy at sections of Kelly’s line of questioning. Carlson has been given what amounts to a demotion by being transferred to an afternoon show. Pospisil is a young and keen producer, hoping to make her mark on the other side of the camera. The thing that all of them have in common? They work for Fox News CEO Roger Ailes (played by a corpulent John Lithgow, thanks to added makeup and a fat suit).
It’s a notoriously male-dominated environment, with Ailes in particular displaying a sickening sense of entitlement, abusing his power over his female employees and really sleazing things up. However, our trio of leading women are rightfully mad as hell about this, and they’re not going to take it anymore…
More straight “this is how it was” expose than any sort of satirical observation such as, say, Vice, many who follow world events will already know much of the story presented here. In director Jay Roach’s hands it makes for a fast-paced overview of what went down, as well as a sometimes insightful take on both gender and workplace politics, with Theron absolutely outstanding in her metamorphosis into Kelly (not being Fox News viewers, we looked the real-life Kelly up after seeing Bombshell and were stunned at just how good Theron is here).
Beyond the lead casting, smaller parts have also been masterfully filled by a selection of great character actors and up-and-comers. Allison Janney, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Mark Duplass, Richard Kind, Alice Eve, D’Arcy Carden, Liv Hewson – and we could go on. Malcolm McDowell as Rupert Murdoch is also quite the sight.
As with all realities given the big movie treatment, some healthy skepticism should be employed while viewing Bombshell. The blame for the noxious culture at Fox News is aimed squarely at the now deceased Ailes, and it could easily be argued that the Fox News empire itself gets away somewhat more unscathed than it perhaps should. Regardless, Bombshell makes for an entertaining and thought-provoking tale of good versus evil.
In cinemas: January 16, 2020
Starring: Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman
Directed by: Jay Roach