Pros: transformations of actors; character Margot Robbie; make-up artists’ work; real story based on the script Cons: overabundance of facts and characters, as well as political inserts “Sensation” / Bombshell
Directed by Jay Roach
Cast: Charlize Theron (Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (Gretchen Carlson), Margot Robbie (Kayla Pospisil), John Lithgow (Roger Isles), Mark Duplass (Douglas Brunt), Connie Britton (Beth Isles), Allison Janney (Susan Estrich) , Bridgette Lundy-Paine (Julia Clarke), Malcolm McDowell (Rupert Murdoch), Kate McKinnon (Jess Carr), PJ Byrne (Neil Cavuto), Ashley Greene (Abby Huntsman), etc.
Columbia Pictures, Blumhouse Productions
Year of release 2019 (in Ukraine 2020)
The drama “Sensation” takes the viewer to 2015, showing the work of the top-rated American channel Fox News. TV presenter Megyn Kelly moderates the presidential debate, during which the journalist enters into a verbal clash with Republican Party representative Donald Trump. In this situation, Kelly hopes for the support of the channel, while a big conflict is about to break out within his team – one of the employees is ready to report sexual harassment from Chief Executive Officer Roger Ailes. Kelly also has a story to tell, but for her, like many other women at Fox News, this could be a career ending.
At the very beginning of the film, the creators of “Sensation” warn that some scenes in the film were created for dramatic effect. However, during the viewing process it turns out that the film does not have time to devote time to the emotional state of the characters. The film primarily seeks to restore the details of real events that took place five years ago. For this reason, countless characters appear on screen, familiar primarily to American viewers. So before watching it is worth remembering the key names appearing in the story, so as not to get lost in the flashing figures (although this is most likely inevitable).
At first, the filmmakers try their best to simplify information, breaking the fourth wall. Charlize Theron, portrayed as Megyn Kelly, addresses the audience, telling how the world of Fox News works. And without additional clues, it is clear that the popularity of the channel is the result of the management activities of Roger Ailes (played by John Lithgow). He is not the owner of the media (the company is run by the Murdoch family – you will also have to remember that last name), but Ailes is a powerful man who sets the rules and puts pressure on employees, which later became the theme of the film.
“Sensation” director Jay Roach has previously released films with political themes (Game Change, The Campaign), so it is not surprising that in addition to harassment, he does not shy away from the Republican election race. Roach manages to combine the footage he shot with an actual interview with Donald Trump, highlighting the ignorance of the man who became president.
In truth, the director’s desire to put as many details into the film as possible (no matter how important they are) does not have a stunning effect. Not every viewer will be able to faithfully follow the plot, hoping to receive the most detailed analysis of the conflict, which many are already skeptical about.
It’s good that the film features the character of Margot Robbie (her character became a collective image in which the writers reflected the experiences of various women who worked at Fox News over the years). The actress appears in scenes that demonstrate the main problem that the film deals with – helplessness in the face of an influential person who abuses power.
Fortunately, the writers are not trying to idealize either the young journalist or another TV presenter, Gretchen Carlson (played by Nicole Kidman), involved in this case. The heroines have ambitions and a desire to build a successful career, which significantly influences their actions (in this the film is reminiscent of The Morning Show, and Mark Duplass stars in both projects).
Complex corporate proceedings are of course of interest to few, even if they reveal the ugly side of television. But the reincarnation of famous actors will at least attract attention.
Still, it was not for nothing that “Sensation” received an Oscar for best makeup. It was created by Kazu Hiro, the man who turned Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill (for the film Darkest Hour). This time, Kazu Hiro carefully worked on Charlize Theron’s appearance, changing the shape of her chin, nose and even eyelids. The make-up artist also worked on the image of John Lithgow, who turned out to be a copy of Roger Ailes.
the film adequately depicted the situation of sexual harassment by a powerful man. True, in pursuit of an accurate representation of the facts, the creators of the film oversaturated it with a large number of characters, which can cause viewer fatigue.