Trumbo (2015)
November 18, 2015 5:28 PM - Subscribe

In 1947, Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood's top screenwriter until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.

"Based on a slick script by John McNamara, Trumbo rolls along the rails, never exciting as much as it should, but also never swaddling itself in Argo-ish self-importance. A charismatic, particular man, Trumbo as played here can verge into cartoon. His mannerisms – the use of a long-stemmed cigarette holder, the gentlemanly turn of phrase, his penchant for writing in the bath – are amplified into eccentricities. A scene in which the writer is stripped searched before he enters prison becomes unintentionally funny because his physical quirks are so laboured. This is, perhaps, the flip side of the zip that director Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Meet the Parents) brings. He wants the film to be fun, while the story is serious. It’s a good idea and an admirable intention. But it does suffer the odd wobble." —Jay Barnes, The Guardian
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (1 comment total)
 
I liked Trumbo, but I wish its creators had stuck to the facts. There were, after all, ten of the Hollywood Ten — did they really need to make up Arlen Hird (the Louis C K character) because none of the real ones had lives that were totally ruined? And why malign Edward G Robinson, who, though he did testify as a friendly witness in real-life, never named names? By saying, for the sake of fictitious drama, that Robinson did something heinous that he never actually did, the film is not much better than some of the figures it's attacking. The film also gives the impression that Hedda Hopper was single-handedly the author of the blacklist, and though she may have been influential, I'm sure it wasn't just her idea.

That said, the look is great, and the performances are awesome. Cranston wows me every time I see him. John Goodman has the best five minutes of the film. And Helen Mirren is perfect as Hedda Hopper.

It's too bad they couldn't work in anything from the period when Steve Martin was dating one of the Trumbo daughters. I would have also liked to have seen Millard Kaufman in the film — he was a front for Trumbo for the film Gun Crazy, but he was also one of the creators of Mr Magoo.
posted by ubiquity at 2:43 PM on December 20, 2015


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