Film Review | Bombshell

From the double-barrelled meaning of Bombshell (as a devastating event and a sexually-charged male reference to an attractive woman) to the powerhouse acting trio of Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie, Bombshell delivers an incendiary exposé of sexual harassment at Fox News under the guidance of its CEO Roger Ailes.

The incidents are a matter of historical and public record. Whether or not you are familiar with them, Bombshell manages to build tension and an uncertainty about how the events depicted in the film will be resolved.

That's quite an achievement for a film based on real events with outcomes that are known.

Roger Ailes was a powerhouse media creator. He propelled Ronald Reagan into the White House, formed Fox News, and turned it into a billion-dollar cornerstone of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News network.

He had a direct phone line to Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump.

He was an all-powerful and a supreme figure in the American television universe.

He was also obscene.

He built careers, especially aspiring female news anchor aspirants, as easily as he destroyed them. Seemingly, with a wave of his hand. Behind closed doors.

If you were a woman in the Fox universe, the way to climb the ladder of success and become a news anchor was to understand nuanced suggestions, from figures such as Aisles and Fox News vice president Bill Shine, around coded words such as "loyalty". They were code for sex.

They were encouraged and abetted blatantly by Aisles in a male-dominated workplace.

Once you entered the world of Fox News, you became enslaved to its circumstances and world view.

Bombshell strips bare the foundation of moral corruption at Fox News, while also taking direct aim at sexual harassment as an issue within society and as an unwelcome yet defining spirit within the corporate sphere.

Megyn (Charlize Theron), Gretchen (Nicole Kidman) and Kayla (Margot Robbie) each encapsulate a perspective regarding the issues.

SPEAKING OUT: Megyn (Charlize Theron), Gretchen (Nicole Kidman) and Kayla (Margot Robbie) encapsulate various perspectives regarding sexual harassment.

SPEAKING OUT: Megyn (Charlize Theron), Gretchen (Nicole Kidman) and Kayla (Margot Robbie) encapsulate various perspectives regarding sexual harassment.

As a seasoned professional news anchor, Megyn Kelly knows the secrets that underpin Roger Aisles' detestable criteria for promotion within Fox News. Yet she hesitates to reveal his atrocious behaviour.

Gretchen has a definite strategy to expose Aisles' morally corrupt practices and takes direct action.

Kayla is a wide-eyed innocent who soon learns the despicable nature of Aisles' corruption.

Kelly and Carlson speak directly to the audience at times. Normally, this technique of reaching to the audience from the screen is a sign of a film that is uncertain about its direction.

Bombshell uses the technique to enhance the immediacy of the scandal and provides the audience with direct thoughts about the conundrums each victim of sexual harassment is experiencing, such as whether to expose the harassment in the face of the monolithic power structure of American network television.

Bombshell's power and strength lies in telling the story from the women's perspective. And it does it extremely effectively.

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