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.