Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Trumbo Review - 3 Stars
Brian Cranston does a lot of talking in “Trumbo” - the film biography of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. A Communist in the 1930’s. Trumbo refused to answer questions and name names before the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1940’s. His actions landed him in prison for contempt of Congress, but his greater punishment came when he returned to Hollywood. In spite of his proven talent, no one would hire him. Trumbo fought back writing scripts under assumed names and getting screen writing jobs for his friends as well. Ultimately one of Trumbo’s scripts won an Oscar and redemption, work and proper credit followed. The story of the Black List during the Communist scare of the 1950’s has been told often, as has Trumbo’s tribulations. This new film turns several Hollywood figures including John Wayne and columnist Hedda Hopper into cartoon style villains. Diane Lane adds a note of grace of Trumbo’s long-suffering wife. Elle Fanning stands out as Trumbo’s teen aged daughter, enduring adolescence as well as her father’s struggle. “Trumbo” could have benefited from a more subtle approach. In spite of a heavy hand, it remains easy to watch and enjoy. Does it deliver what it promises? Heavy handed history with a Hollywood touch. Is it entertaining? Brian Cranston can do no wrong. Is it worth the price of admission? Worth a look.