Summary: In 1947, Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood’s top screenwriter, until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.
Director: Jay Roach
Writers: John McNamara (screenplay), Bruce Cook (book)
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis C.K., Elle Fanning, John Goodman, Michael Struhlbarg
Cinema has known a lot of drama throughout time. From actors, screenwriters, directors to Hollywood itself, the things that happen behind the big screen is mind-boggling and a lot of it remains in the closet to this day. Politics has played a huge role in marking the cinematographic landscape. Trumbo is a movie that not only shows you what a screenwriter’s political belief can do to his career, but what an artist will do for his passion. No matter his inclinations in the political world, his silence found ways to reach theaters and propel Dalton Trumbo onto a career like none other. Set around the late 40s and early 50s, Trumbo is known as an elite in what he does. However, several individuals still denounce his allegiance to the Communist Party of the USA and his constant use of cinema for communist propaganda purposes. The relentless assault from anti-communists will take a big tole on Dalton Trumbo’s career as he discovers the infamous blacklist. But, will it be enough to stop Trumbo from making history?
Bryan Cranston (who plays Dalton Trumbo) is the star of this movie. He is the biggest and sole reason this movie was able to survive the critics and land him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Coming from me, a die-hard fan of this under-rated actor who’s known his glorious days since his masterful performance in the critically acclaimed TV show Breaking Bad, this may sound biased. However, trust me on this. His performance in Trumbo is absolutely majestic. He nails the character and blows us away with the evolution of his portrayal throughout the movie. Dalton Trumbo’s fight against the blacklist and survive the overall attempt to censor him in Hollywood couldn’t have been done any better. My favorite moment remains Dalton’s darkest days and his struggle in juggling work and family. Bryan Cranston is absolutely brilliant and does a great job in showing the various repercussions of the blacklist and his nemesis’ on him.
The thing about movies based on true stories is how difficult it can be for viewers to distinguish facts from fiction. While the movie pinpoints some of the bigger highlights of Dalton Trumbo’s life, it is most likely that his case has known a lot of unmentioned darker events besides the ones shown. The fact that the movie is a movie should however make us realize that even with inaccuracies, this movie is still beyond insightful. What I really loved about Trumbo is how informative it was. As boring as the life of a screenwriter might seem to an individual, Dalton Trumbo proves anyone wrong. Around the final act of the movie, a lot of Trumbo’s greatest projects are revealed and even shows us his ties to some other big names from Hollywood. As a huge fan of cinema, these bits had my jaw touching the floor. Not only was I praising Bryan Cranston’s performance and his well-merited nomination for Best Actor, I started to also praise Dalton Trumbo and his fight to become an artist who could not be silenced. Sometimes, it just takes a movie to have you digging into the life of some people who should be known by every man.
Be that as it may, Trumbo was not a one-man show. Even with Bryan Cranston being the biggest game-changer and having put a lot of heart in his acting, several other actors have done their fair share of excelling too. Louis C.K., for example, did a marvelous job in playing the role of a survivor; in more than one way, might I add. The movie in overall delivered enough content to surprise viewers with an entertaining and powerful movie about the life of Dalton Trumbo. Although this biopic made sure to exploit as much of its casts raw talent, I still felt like the director, Jay Roach, missed his opportunity to convey more emotional and astonishing moments. A lot of scenes could’ve had a stronger delivery and could’ve made this movie a bigger and even more thought-provoking motion picture than what Trumbo managed to do. Trumbo however remains a movie to do seen by any cinephile who’d find interest in the life of one of the most historical and influential elite among screenwriters to this day.