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Jay Roach Bombshell review


Bombshell | Review

Bombshell | Review

All the Network Allows: Roach Gets Righteous with Topical Melodrama

Jay Roach Bombshell review They’re mad as hell and they just might not take it anymore. So could be the tagline for Jay Roach’s topical melodrama Bombshell, perhaps the most high-profile and well-calibrated offering thus far to depict the undying misogyny, sexism and hypocrisy which bridles America’s unseemly underbelly—at least since the Me Too movement brought sexual harassment back into trendy conversation. Roach, previously notable as the helmer of those retro Austin Powers films, throws himself into Hollywood’s version of the political arena a la Todd Phillips and Adam Mackay with his latest offering.

Borrowing Mackay’s The Big Short (2014) scribe Charles Randolph, his latest strikes a similar tone, a smug retrospective iteration which gobbles up and spits out the irony of the Roger Ailes sex scandal which rocked Fox News just as the gathering storm of 2016’s presidential election began to take shape. The result is a film which feels akin to the expression of the cat eating the canary, riding high on the shoulders of a sublime characterization of Fox news anchor Megyn Kelly courtesy of Charlize Theron, a key figure in the proceedings which would take down Ailes, and much like the Dixie Chicks before her, a victim who underestimates the ignorant vitriol of her followers.

Theron, expertly transformed with a new nose, is transfixing, stalking through the frame like an alpha predator on the defense. She’s provided solid support from Nicole Kidman as shamed anchor Gretchen Carlson (whose lawsuit sounds Ailes’ death knell) and Margot Robbie as Kayla, a composite of the faceless, nameless white women crushed ‘neath the wheels of the all-consuming patriarchy they’ve often participated with willingly, to their own detriment.

While Bombshell lacks the immediacy of a political thriller (it’s a far cry from something like All the President’s Men, for instance), Roach and Randolph deserve some recognition for cobbling together a potentially preachy subject without hitting us over the head—and likewise, for presenting a group of problematic white women who aren’t vilified, but humanized despite the choices they’ve made or the illegal consequences they’ve suffered.

An impressive supporting cast of notables abounds, but John Lithgow (much like his oral performance as Trump in this year’s reading of the Mueller Report in “The Investigation: A Search for the Truth in Ten Acts) is appropriately vile as Ailes, while Kate McKinnon, Allison Janney and the underappreciated Alanna Ubach are afforded the opportunity to sink their teeth into some meaningful asides.


Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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