“Better dead than red” was a popular slogan during the Cold War era for most Americans, but not for Dalton Trumbo. A Hollywood screenwriter who wrote the screen plays for films such as, Roman Holiday, Spartacus, Exodus and The Brave One found himself and his comrades under investigation and eventually jailed for their communist beliefs. Trumbo is the story of Dalton Trumbo and his rise, fall and climb back to being one of the greatest screenwriters Hollywood has ever seen.
At first glance there’s little pause for concern that this film won’t be enjoyable. It’s directed by Jay Roach and has a cast so star studded it’s clear this film will be given consideration come the Oscars. If you are a fan of Bryan Cranston this film will not disappoint you. either. He transforms his persona on screen so incredibly that you forget you’re watching the same guy who gave the world “Walter White” and “Hal”. Supporting his character is the incredibly talented and beautiful Diane Lane. She plays “Cleo Trumbo” his wife. And the list of talent goes on from there. John Goodman, Helen Mirren, Stephen Root, Alan Tudyk, Louis C.K. and more. It’s casting gold, folks.
If there’s any concern that you might be walking into a communist propaganda film I won’t say those feelings are completely unwarranted. I will say that despite it’s left leaning bias the story is balanced enough to be thought provoking, humorous and entertaining. Does it paint the picture that Trumbo is a victim more than a traitor? Sure, because that’s the point of this particular film and it would serve you well to keep that in mind if you choose to see it in theaters.
The only criticism I had for this film was regarding one particular actor. It’s true that if you are inexperienced and surrounded by experience one of two things can happen. You either become better or you remain the same and your short-comings are highlighted. In this film Louis C.K. was the weakest part. It felt like he was directed to act like he was acting like himself. Were he told to be himself and let the character evolve there’s a possibility that his performance would’ve been more believable. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and for the first two acts of the film he shares a bulk of the screen time with Bryan Cranston, noticeably struggling to be the character he was hired to be.
“Trumbo” is in theaters now! I give this film a few shots of Russian vodka for good measure. It’s an entertaining film that’s well written and well acted. There’s little that doesn’t work in this film and the aspects of movie making that do work do so in spades. It’s worth the cost of a full priced ticket and the possible lengthy drive if the independent theater isn’t near by.
Comment below if you’ve already seen it and share your thoughts! Join in on the fun of movie watching and be sure to share this post with anyone who you feel would enjoy another one of my Box Office Reviews.