Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Bombshell [2019]

The powerful, albeit short-lived, #MeToo movement had emphatically raised the topic of sexual harassment and abuse (especially in workplace), which is often ignored, buried or even normalized; hence, some of its slightly problematic aspects aside, its stirring and empowering impact was unquestionable. The Hollywood biggie Bombshell might well be one of the first big budget films consciously centered fair and square on this topic – and that, in itself, makes this worth a watch. It chronicled the spectacular fall from power of Fox News’s bullying Chairman / CEO Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) whose rabid conservatism was equaled only by his predatory sexism; was spearheaded by three highly reckoned actresses (a remarkably compelling and steely Charlize Theron as popular newscaster Megyn Kelly and a heavyweight within Fox News, a fervently dogged Nicole Kidman as once popular newscaster Gretchen Carlson who starts a chain-reaction when she’s fired, and a sassy yet vulnerable Margot Robbie as Kayla, an ambitious journalist and a composite character); comprised of a string of fine performances (including a slimy turn by Lithgow, and an affecting one by Kate McKisson as a closet lesbian and Democrat faking her life and political afflilitations to survive in Fox), and all of these were invigorating to watch. However, that it veered into simplifications and contrivances by downplaying the moral and political subtexts of its protagonists, in order for us to root for them within the otherwise toxic context of Fox News, meant that the film forsake depth and complexity for appeal. But, that said, it did pull punches and had its share of moments too, be it in Megan’s realpolitik U-turn on Trump or Gretchen’s quiet rebiliousness or Kayla’s painful coming of age.

Director: Jay Roach
Genre: Drama/Showbiz Drama/Docufiction
Language: English
Country: US

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