Vincent's Views

Home » 2020 » April

Monthly Archives: April 2020

Bombshell

Bombshell_{3604dd65-75c4-e911-a98f-0edcbcd33718}.jpg

Bombshell is a story of our time, and one that we may wish was not. Based on real events, the film tells the story of sexual harassment cases brought by Fox News staff against CEO Roger Ailes (played under several layers of makeup by John Lithgow). Around this true story, which ultimately led to the dismissal of Ailes and major damages for the victims (although check the supertext at the end for a serious gut punch), director Jay Roach and screenwriter Charles Randolph deliver on several fronts. Bombshell is a stirring character study, especially of Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron), Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) and Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie). All three leads are great in their representation of women at different stages of their careers. Carlson is the most established and aggrieved, leading the campaign against Ailes. Kelly is more cautious, herself a victim but, in her own words, loyal to Ailes and to Fox News as a whole. Pospisil is a new recruit, naïve in her worship of Fox News, whose encounter with the seedier side of the network provides much of the film’s heartbreak. Bombshell is also a gripping legal drama that, similar to Just Mercy, eschews courtroom histrionics in favour of smart legal wrangling. The film is also a damning indictment of institutionalised toxic masculinity. Aside from one scene, the sexual harassment only appears in the accounts and testimony of the plaintiffs. This is hugely important, because it focuses attention on the victims of Ayers’ predation. Despite Roach’s flashy stylistics that echo the style of Fox News itself, including his glamorous leading ladies and some direct-to-camera addresses, the film is neither titillating nor explicit. Rather, it gives voice to the silent masses who do not speak out for fear of reprisals. The telling of such stories in popular mass entertainment brings these otherwise silenced voices into the mainstream, allowing for a wider conversation. In facilitating this conversation, Bombshell demonstrates the social potential of cinema, while also being a compelling drama in its own right.