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The trailer for Bombshell, Jay Roach’s portrait of Roger Ailes’ downfall, lasts 97 seconds and contains just three words. The camera follows a bleach-blonde Margot Robbie, hair hot-ironed into prom waves, out of her office cubicle into an elevator. As she heads to the second floor, Robbie’s soon joined by two more blondes: Charlize Theron, made up into a Megyn Kelly clone, and Nicole Kidman, sporting Gretchen Carlson’s perky bob and a hot-pink dress. Over a spare, staccato vocal track, the three exchange glances. The camera closes in on each woman’s face, strained with subtext. Kidman cuts the silence: “Hot in here,” she says, fanning her dress. The elevator dings, and all but Kelly file out. The door closes on her face, glaring at them.
In a climate where trailers tend to crunch every plot point and joke into a two-minute montage, the Bombshell teaser was remarkable in its reserve, lingering on a moment of three different—but distinctly similar—kinds of discomfort. It was also misleading. The movie itself is not at all restrained, but a feverish, stylistically confused, and self-conscious account of Kelly and Carlson’s sexual harassment cases, trying to do too much at once. Where the trailer trended tight, subtle, and character-driven, Bombshell plays so fast and loose with style, facts, and odd fictions—including a heavy implication that Trump poisoned Megyn Kelly before a Republican debate—that it can be hard to determine if it’s drama or parody.
The article goes on to state the following:
The bulk of Bombshell you likely already know. It opens with Kelly just before that famous debate where she clashed with Trump, launched a feud, and wound up an uncomfortable darling of the center-left. A few minutes in, we meet Carlson, talking with lawyers to explore legal action against Ailes, whom she claims harassed and then demoted her after she spurned his advances. It’s odd to see two famous faces from TV slip into the bodies and behaviors of two contemporaries, both also famous faces from TV, without approaching caricature. But Theron and Kidman pull it off: the former, though her fake face occasionally borders on claymation, matches her voice to Kelly’s signature tenor; the latter nails Carlson’s effete fidgeting and wide-eyed ambition. Other familiar faces who appear throughout the movie—Neil Cavuto, Rudy Giuliani, Sean Hannity—are more impersonations than anything else, played to comic exaggeration, and giving an otherwise serious movie the feel of an SNL sketch played as drama (as if to belabor this point, SNL’s Kate McKinnon appears in the somewhat superfluous role of a closet-Clintonite/lesbian working for Bill O’Reilly).
See the trailer below:
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