Trumbo (♦♦♦♦)

Starting in 1947, the fear of spreading Communism reached Hollywood. Some prominent screenwriters were called to testify before Congress about their political affiliations with the Communist Party, and declared in content for not addressing the questions directly. Hence, they were jailed and subsequently blacklisted without any possibility to work. That is, until Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood’s top screenwriter, found a way to circumvent the policy and write screenplays under bogus names, thus winning two Oscars and exposing the ineffectiveness of the system.

If I said that Spotlight belonged at the top of 2015’s best movies, I have to say that Trumbo does as well. The screenplay is a jewel, at times funny and serious, and the direction and the editing are superb as well. Typically period pieces tend to go on and on for longer than two hours; most times if they fit into the allotted time frame the movie feels heavy, slow, but there was nothing superfluous in Trumbo, at all.

If the technical aspects of the film are noteworthy, much more worthy of praise is its ensemble cast led by Bryan Cranston (of Breaking Bad TV series fame) in the role of Trumbo. I have heard great things of DiCaprio’s performance in Revenant, and since I haven’t watched yet I can’t pass judgment, but Bryan Cranston definitely deserves top honors for this performance. He was plainly brilliant. Mind you, he didn’t physically resemble the real subject, but he came across as a stubborn individual who knew his rights had been trampled on and he and his family had suffered as a consequence.

Behind Bryan Cranston, stood a very solid star-studded cast that complemented his performance in a remarkable way. Among the supporting cast were Diane Lane as Cleo (Trumbo’s wife), Elle Fanning as Nikola Trumbo (Trumbo’s spirited first-born daughter), Louis C.K. as Arlen Hird, Helen Mirren as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (leader of the anti-Communist pack in Hollywood), John Goodman as director Frank King, David James Elliott (of J.A.G. TV series fame) as John Wayne.

Comments

  1. I see you have been keeping up on the Oscar nominated movies. As I would expect, since movies are your "favorite passion." And your reviews are important to me, even though I haven't seen that many yet, because I will see all of them as they come out on DVD. This subject is a particular one of interest to me. I read many novels about it from the 1950s.

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    1. Funny thing, since I was a child and watched movies I kept track of actors and actresses but not so much directors or screenwriters, etc, so I didn't know of Trumbo. Interestingly, he wrote the scripts of some of Hollywood's most famous movies (e.g. Roman Holiday, Spartacus, Exodus, etc), and the movie goes into that a bit.

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    2. Even more curious to see it. And suddenly I am curious about the lives of screenwriters.

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  2. I've never seen Bryan Cranston give a bad performance. Wonderful actor!

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    1. I refused to give Breaking Bad when it was running because I thought it glorified drug dealers, but after Trumbo, I definitely want to watch it to see for myself if the hype was justified.

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  3. You have me definitely wanting to see Trumbo. I've put it to the top of our list. Is it on Netflix now? I'll check.

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    1. It's very good. I doubt it is on Netflix since it is a recent release and competed at the Oscars. You can find it on Google Play for rent.

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    2. Trumbo releases on Netflix 3/15.

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    3. Thanks, Judy. Don't miss it.

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