On New Year’s Eve I saw “Trumbo”.
I have a high interest with anything associated with communism and the cold war. I find the era of the Hollywood Blacklist particularly fascinating. So obviously the true story of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was the perfect subject matter for me.
I am forever intrigued with how many times the United States of America, a country that loves to pride itself on being the freest country on earth, has persecuted and taken away the rights of its own citizens. Coming so soon after the World War 2 the anti-Semitism of the Blacklist is all the more stunning. One of the things that makes “Trumbo” so interesting is how long Dalton Trumbo struggled against it this persecution.
The fact that he wasn’t awarded his Oscar for “Roman Holiday” until after his death shows that the struggle lasted even after his life was over.
The film does an excellent job of showing this time in history, much more than the snooze fest that was 2005’s “Good Night and Good Luck”. It is a great history lesson but the acting and the characters are impactful enough that the film isn’t boring.
Despite the fact that there are many talented actors the film lives and dies by Bryan Cranston’s performance and he does a great job.
It is so difficult for television actors to be taken seriously in feature films but Cranston’s talent is more than enough to carry the film. It is also super tricky for an actor associated with an iconic TV character to be believable in any other role but once again Cranston is very successful here. It would so easy to only ever see him as Walter White but he creates a full realized character that is very different than the one that earned him four Emmy Awards.
Helen Mirren is good in her supporting role of legendary Hollywood gossip columnist, Hedda Hopper. Obviously, Hopper is a villain in the film but Mirren gives her just enough depth so that she doesn’t become a one note monster.
Diane Lane is good as Trumbo’s wife; she is also given just enough to do so that she doesn’t just fade into the back as a generic wife.
“Trumbo” is a very good, but not quite great film. I’m glad I saw it in the theatre and I do recommend it for anybody who likes Cranston, Mirren, Lane or this period in history.
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