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Bombshell

5/10

Stars: Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon, Allison Janney, Robin Weigert, Nazanin Boniadi, Ben Lawson, Josh Lawson, Bree Condon, Alice Eve, Richard Kind

Director: Jay Roach

The darker side of Nine to Five is examined in this talky, busy drama dealing with the 'toxic' atmosphere at Fox TV News in the early 2000s, when one women (Kidman) and eventually a whole group, took on the network's sexually predatory boss Roger Ailes (Lithgow), who would invite attractive and ambitious female colleagues into his office where a chat would be followed by a 'Give me a twirl' and 'Raise your skirt - a little higher' on the grounds that 'TV is a visual medium'.

These overtures would be followed eventually by a demand for sexual favours in return for advancement.

Theron, as a senior anchor, and Robbie, as a starry-eyed former weathergirl, are among others involved, all of whom have been Lithgow's victims.

While ostensibly on the girls' side, the film never seems quite sure of its own viewpoint, leading to an ending that doesn't quite pack the punch it might.

Lithgow couldn't be better as the disturbingly unctuous Ailes, but the girls involved, and there are many, fail to come across as personalities in their own right, or ones that we can root for - as vanilla as a script that could, and should have cut deeper.

Guest star Malcolm McDowell comes on at the end with a dreadful Australian accent to give his impersonation of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

David Quinlan

USA 2019. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour by Cinelease.
108 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 12 Jan 2020