Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release of Bombshell, the Oscar®-nominated, real story of three ambitious and strong women who risked everything to stand up to the man who made them.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 108 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English/French SDH, Spanish
Starring: Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Allison Janney, Malcolm McDowell
Directed by: Jay Roach
Music by: Theodore Shapiro
Written by: Charles Randolph
Region Code: A

Release Date: March 10, 2020
"Based on a Real Scandal"

Bombshell is the Oscar®-nominated, provocative real story of three ambitious and strong women who risked everything to stand up to the man who made them. – Lionsgate Home Entertainment

My Take:

When Gretchen Carlson slaps Fox News founder Roger Ailes with a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, not a soul could predict what would happen next. Her decision leads to Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly coming forward with her own story, as well as multiple other women, inciting a movement that reverberates around the world.

Inspired by the sexual harassment scandal that took place at Fox News only a few short years ago, Bombshell takes a snapshot as seen through the eyes of three ambitious women that worked there under the thumb of Roger Ailes, the man that made Fox News the media giant that it is. The narrative is shaped such that it presents a foundational glimpse of the toxic social climate at the network, most of which was a direct result of Ailes influence, followed by just how these three women, each at differing stages/positions in their careers, came to find themselves at the point of taking a stand against Ailes.

The story’s focus is fairly narrow in that there isn’t a deep dive into the pasts/personal lives of Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson who are truly the hinge point of the plot. Kayla Pospisil, the third woman involved, winds up being someone that is more of a sympathetic character that allowed the audience to contextualize the systemic sexism and unsettling atmosphere at the network under Ailes. While I would have preferred better fleshing out of certain aspects of the screenplay, I believe that Bombshell does a good job of driving home its tone and ultimate message.

The cast is loaded with talent, pretty much from top to bottom but, it’s the performances by Charlize Theron, John Lithgow, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie that prove to be the springboard for the film’s overall impact.

Bombshell successfully highlights the eye-opening scandal at Fox News that began during the last presidential election, which resulted in the firing of several noted members of its staff, including director Roger Ailes. It’s not a perfectly executed drama/melodrama but, it hits the mark more often than not resulting in a compelling, relevant and ultimately entertaining film that my wife and I enjoyed.

Bombshell was nominated for three Academy Awards® including Best Actress (Charlize Theron), Best Supporting Actress (Margot Robbie), and Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling (for which it won).

Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for sexual material and language throughout.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA
Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 
Bombshell comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 channel sound.

This is an excellent Blu-ray offering from Paramount that looks terrific in high definition. Detail rendering is nearly flawless with lucid visual acuity and fine articulation that brings forth lots of subtle detail in the images onscreen. Colors are rich and delineated with pleasing primaries and warm tonality that make them pop nicely. The extensive palette of secondary hues featured in the story, appear vivid and warm. Flesh tones are natural with varying degrees of complexional separation among the cast. Boldly applied contrast and consistent black levels provide excellent balance during bright scenes containing mixed content. Shadow detail is strong which brings out plenty of discernible texture in low/uneven lighting and dark backgrounds.

This is primarily a dialog driven film however there are elements in the film that require use of the entire system so its ability to clearly render them is essential. Dialog is reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture as it is appropriately balanced within the front soundstage. The surround mix utilizes the entire platform to recreate the many acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The rear channels contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional panning cues that effectively support the front soundstage. In general, this audio presentation mated well with the source material and sounded fine. I couldn’t help but question WHY in 2020 it didn’t include a lossless soundtrack on Blu-ray.

Bonus Features:
  • No Easy Truths: The Making of Bombshell:
    • • “Convergence: Genesis of the Film” Featurette
      • “Quid Pro Quo: Charlize, Nicole, Margot, John” Featurette
      • “Human Dynamics: The Ensemble Cast” Featurette
      • “Breaking the Fourth Wall: Visual Design” Featurette
      • “Layer by Layer: Makeup, Hair & Clothing” Featurette
      • “A Unique Skill Set: Jay Roach” Featurette
      • “Catalyst for Change: Parting Thoughts” Featurette
  • DVD
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Bombshell is a relevant, eye opening and poignant drama that is based on the true story of the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News and the three women that had a hand in taking down those involved. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring solid technical merits and a worthwhile supplemental set that includes insights from the filmmakers and cast. Bombshell is worthwhile viewing that deserves a place at the top of your Blu-ray rental queue.
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from  Portrait.com )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems