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“Bombshell” Mixes Anger And Entertainment With Top Notch Performances

Whether this is the first true movie of the #MeToo movement or not, Bombshell is a film that utilizes disgust. Coursing through its cinematic veins is an incredible anger at the men in power who prey upon women. Even when the plot itself can remain surface level at times, the angry nature of it, a righteous anger that’s easily identified with, helps rule the day. Throw in two phenomenal performances, two solid supporting performances, as well as an unlikely ability to make this all still entertaining, and you have something very interesting. Opening this week, Bombshell is about to become a real conversation piece.

The movie is a ripped from the headlines drama about the Fox News scandal involving chairman Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). A predator for years, everything is kept under the rug until the 2016 election cycle. As star anchor Megan Kelly (Charlize Theron) is harassed by Donald Trump supporters, Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) is let go by the company. She opts to sue Fox News and Ailes over the toxic atmosphere he presided over for years, starting a chain reaction. As this goes on, new employee Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) is drawn in to the fray on all sides. Soon, the three women come together, with Ailes and his culture dead in their sights. Jay Roach directs a script by Charles Randolph, with cinematography by Barry Ackroyd, as well as a score by Theodore Shapiro. Supporting players include Connie Britton, P.J. Byrne, Alice Eve, Rob Delaney, Mark Duplass, Ashley Greene, Tricia Helfer, Allison Janney, Richard Kind, Malcolm McDowell, Kate McKinnon, Jennifer Morrison, Stephen Root, Alanna Ubach, Madeline Zima, and many more.

Bombshell lives and dies with its acting. In particular, we have both sides of the coin with the performances by Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron. The former is free to go in unique directions, considering her character is made up. The latter, however, has the daunting task of making a cinematic character but still embodying Megyn Kelly. Theron is able to really become Kelly, in a way that a good biopic needs. This isn’t that, but it’s still a truly impressive performance. As for Robbie, her fictional Kayla Pospisil is both an audience surrogate as well as the heart and soul of the flick. Throw in solid supporting turns by Nicole Kidman and John Lithgow, alongside the two more central performances, and this is an impeccably acted movie.

At one point, this film seemed like a surefire Oscar contender. Then, the precursors more or less ignored it, aside from Theron and Robbie. Now, with the Screen Actors Guild wholly embracing it, the movie is back in the running. Look for Lionsgate to keep going all in on this one with efforts in Best Picture, Best Director (for Roach), Best Actress (for Theron), Best Supporting Actor (for Lithgow), Best Supporting Actress (for Kidman and Robbie), Best Original Screenplay (for Randolph), as well as Best Makeup & Hairstyling. Right now, Theron is locked in for an Actress nomination, and Robbie is sitting pretty as well in Supporting Actress (though she could wind up cited for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood instead), but other than that, it remains to be seen how voters take to this one.

This Friday, audiences curious to see how this story is handled on screen would do well to check out Bombshell. The film is way more entertaining than the synopsis makes it sound, full of laughs and pointed criticism. If there’s a complaint to be made, it’s that Randolph and Roach never quite go beneath the surface. It’s a very accomplished movie, for sure, but there’s an essential and riveting tale to be found elsewhere. Consider this a really good film with the skeleton of something phenomenal. Either way, the final product here is well worth seeing. A surefire conversation starter, this is a notable flick, whichever side of the political aisle you fall on…

Be sure to check out Bombshell, in theaters this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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