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Bombshell (15) 108 minutes
Before #MeToo, while Harvey Weinstein was still the most powerful figure in Hollywood (a few years prior to his lawyers advising him to buy a Zimmer frame and start walking as if his dick had just dropped off) the real seeds of the campaign were being sown at the offices of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News.
Set during the 2016 presidential campaign, the politics may appear to be just a sub plot going on in the background of Bombshell as a long ignored policy of institutionalised sexual harassment on the part of station chairman Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) faces exposure following the firing of presenter Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman).
Meanwhile, star news anchor Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) is at loggerheads with Donald Trump, whose shocking comments on Twitter risks creating a conflict with one of the most senior on screen figures of the network favoured by Trump supporting, gun toting redneck, gay hating rampant Republicans across the country.
Trump’s attitude to women is the elephant in the control room here as it becomes clear that these ambitious, highly driven women have previously tolerated the explicit threats of their boss to “find ways of showing loyalty” to get ahead in the cut-throat world of US television journalism.
When new recruit Margot Robbie finds herself singled out for special Ailes treatment, the reliance on women keeping quiet for fear of losing everything hangs on whether Kelly is prepared to show solidarity with Carlson by backing up her claims.
These events, and how they played out, are still very recent and with the exception of Ailes, who has since passed away, the main protagonists are very much alive – which brings with it a number of issues.
Nicole Kidman bears no resemblance to Carlson, yet Theron, who we already know from Monster is not averse to changing her appearance for a role, has gone full method with some groundbreaking prosthetic work which looks like she’s used Helen Hunt’s or Renee Zelwegger’s plastic surgeon and only really manages to distract because, let’s face it, anyone outside of America who is not a journalist has no idea what Megyn Kelly or Roger Ailes are supposed to look like anyway.
Bombshell serves no purpose other than as awards fodder. The film industry invests in films like this (Network, All The President’s Men, The Front Page) because they are tailor made for acting nominations when they are closer to impersonations.