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REVIEW: Bombshell (2019)

Bombshell is probably the most high-profile film to tackle one of the last decade’s most prominent talking points, that being sexual harassment in places of power. Given how synonymous the #MeToo movement has become with modern news, it’s a surprise that it’s taken this long.

Jay Roach’s film, written by Charles Randolph of The Big Short acclaim, covers the scandal which eventually led to notorious Fox News CEO Roger Ailes’ downfall. It boasts an outstanding cast, with Charlize Theron, John Lithgow, Margot Robbie and Nicole Kidman all in sterling form.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty ham-fisted in its execution. Roach and Randolph attempt to mimic the ‘breaking the fourth wall’ approach that made The Big Short such an entertaining watch, but to poor effect. Their topic is nowhere near as complex as the financial crisis of 2007-2008, and consequently feels needlessly smarmy.

What’s ironic is that Bombshell dumbs down other key aspects of its story. It attempts to paint is leading women as sympathetic figures, without ever addressing their troublesome politics. That’s not to say that their experiences are any less important, more so that it provides the audience with half-arsed pen portraits.

Perhaps it’s because Randolph tries to juggle what are essentially three separate character arcs, but Bombshell never feels like a well-rounded assessment of what is an incredibly sensitive issue. Maybe in the hands of a female director and/or writer it could have been more effective, but the end product is sadly more miss than hit.

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