'BOMBSHELL' offers a real perspective on a pressing issue that we’ve not seen on the big screen before. . . And we’re here for it.
Despite being the third screen production focused on the Roger Ailes scandal at Fox News, 'BOMBSHELL' introduces a timely and well-executed perspective starring one of the biggest casts we’ve seen in years, arguably making it the best version of the event yet.
Described as a hybrid comedy and a real-life horror story, 'BOMBSHELL' follows the narrative of three women's experiences with Ailes. Commencing with Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) who initially opens the case against Ailes, we then learn about Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron), a lawyer by training, as she confirmed the testimonies of Carlson and many who follow. It was the elaboration of fictional character Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) that stole the show (thanks to writer Charles Randolph), with the adaptation of other women’s testimonies in a ‘what would have been’ role that added the emotional jarring to the uncomfortable reality that the film was based on. It was Kayla who we watched as the situation unravelled first hand, when her ambitions trapped her into having to say yes to Ailes or be fired, which alluded to the eerily similar situation that Gretchen and Megyn had seen before.
With a cast like we saw in 'BOMBSHELL' it was easy to be concerned about whether or not director Jay Roach and writer Charles Randolph could actually pull off a big gun addition to the #metoo movement. However, we were pleasantly surprised, as we saw Kidman, Theron and Robbie take to the screen, almost perfectly matched with the women the story was based on. Alongside the headline trio, we saw the likes of John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon, and Malcolm McDowell add their expertise to the screen, all perfectly suited to the role they each played. Of all the stars in Hollywood, commendations should be made to the casting crew who chose the right ones to bring this story to life.
As if the adaption wasn’t enough, the videography throughout the film made us feel as though we were a part of the scandal ourselves, as the close-ups got closer throughout the confrontation of Ailes, as we cried alongside Pospisil as she broke down her walls, and as we were let into exclusive, off-the-record meetings between the women as they debated about their responsibility of stepping up and speaking out. There were, of course, the awkward scenes as Ailes denied his accusations, accompanied perfectly by the shaky handheld camera angles, almost as if it were a part of a high-budget documentary, adding the raw and real element to the film.
These scenes were followed by extremely high quality, well-produced newsroom scenes, as we panned across the cubicles and listened to the whisper and debate between Team Roger and Team Gretchen. In addition, with so many characters involved in the story, the film did an excellent job at ‘labelling’ everyone as they appeared on screen. Rather than an introduction, each character’s name and position subtly came into view, making it easy to follow the large spider web of involvement in the case. As well as this, we heard Kelly’s voice-over introduce us to the set at the commencement of the film, walking us through the layout of the building and ensuring we knew what would happen where, as we continued into the story. Again, an excellent execution of what could have been a very confusing and hard-to-follow production.
The excruciating authenticity that exudes from 'BOMBSHELL' can only be made up of the quality of the cast and crew behind it, the amount of research required to write a script of this calibre, and sheer emotion that was evidently felt everyone involved in the production. With a storyline so heavy, the balance that was obtained so beautifully between seriousness, accuracy, and humour makes the movie confronting in such a way that it leaves you feeling challenged, yet incredibly enthusiastic for what the future holds. For this reason, it’s an important film that has marked a particular place in history, and should be seen by young and old, both for the quality of the film, and the meaning and story behind it.
'BOMBSHELL' allows the audience to gain a new perspective in a long-debated and highly controversial period of Fox News’ history, and did it in the least corny, most respectful way possible. It was real without being documentary, funny without being offensive, emotional without being overbearing, and eye-opening in a way that our screens haven’t seen before. Here’s to hoping that this is the first of many well-produced films that bring light to issues we haven’t talked about enough yet.