#MeToo has taken over the world and after we have seen many court cases and appeals play out in the media, it is finally time for these experiences to come to the big screen. The first big film is Bombshell, a star studded exploration into sexual allegations at Fox News that has been “inspired” by real life events and conversations but changed to adapt to a more Hollywood style of movie. The film has an impressive cast who all deliver career defining performances. While this is all good news, the film has some severe pacing issues and the lack of imagination with editing and production ultimately send it down to just ok territory.
The story follows the Fox newsroom star Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) who after roasting Donald Trump at an upcoming presidential election campaign interview, things turn crazy for the network when journalist Gretchen Carlsen (Nicole Kidman) accuses the CEO Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) of sexual harassment after she is demoted and her show is cancelled resulting in her termination from Fox news. As the allegations get heated, other women at the network come forward with their stories of harassment including Megyn Kelly and fictional intern reporter Kayla (Margot Robbie) who is forced into sexual misconduct with Roger to get on the news, things reach a boiling point and the expose of this news giant is revealed.
There is no doubt about it, the script and story are fantastic. There are so many elements at play in this movie that all come together from real life events and the fictional characters and story lines (Robbie, Kate McKinnon) add an element to allow the writers to explore the issue of sexual harrassment at work without being confined to the limitations of the true story elements that this film is sometimes confined to. McKinnon and Robbie have fantastic chemistry together and their relationship inside and outside work is one of the highlights of the film. Robbie really brings her A-game here showcasing just why she deserves the Oscar nomination for this performance. She portrays the raw and idyllic journalist trying to get a leg up in a very competitive world. As she is struggling to get her own show, the journey to getting the prestigious meeting with Roger and the lengths he goes to to please himself and give Kayla a spot on a show. Robbie has a perfect way with this source material, her wide eyed innocence and ambition and her eyes when the interaction with Roger is being carried out is some of the most uncomfortable cinema I have ever witnessed.
The others here all provide incredible performances with Theron receiving an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Megyn Kelly who is portrayed here in two different lights that switch throughout the film. It was an interesting point of view to take and Theron has the steel gaze and ambition to pull it off perfectly. Kidman has had several roles as a mother over the last few years and this truly shines as her best. The lengths she will go to protect her family as well as having the strength to take on incredibly impossible odds against her former employer.
It’s a shame that through all of these strengths the pacing of the film is odd. It is incredibly slow to move in certain parts and the ending is quite abrupt. Kelly was advertised as a main character however the spotlight is shared with the other main players and I couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed as it felt like there was more to explore with this character.
The visuals of the film are also lacking any kind of originality. It is set in a newsroom alongside hotel rooms, bedrooms and inner city settings, that being said the design is nothing exciting or new. It’s an interesting palette choice and if there was something new offered here, it may have enhanced the film. There are also some fourth wall breaking moments at the start of the film which feel jarring and they are quickly abandoned which also adds to the detriment of the pace.
There was a lot of expectations for this film, both from a story perspective and hype from the award nominations. While the actors deliver career defining performances, they are let down by some sloppy film making which drags the message of the film down. What should spark an important conversation in the zeitgeist right now, will unfortunately result in a forgettable film. All of the actors involved deserve better but overcome the majority of the issues with the pacing and techincal side of the film to deliver a solid interesting watch worth leaving the house for.
Bombshell is in cinemas now.