The true story of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted for
his Communist beliefs but continued to write successful films in secret.
Directed by Jay Roach
Written by John McNamara
Starring Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Michael Stuhlbarg,
Louis C.K., Helen Mirren, John Goodman, Elle Fanning,
Alan Tudyk, Dean O'Gorman, Christian Berkel, David James Elliott
Based on the book Dalton Trumbo by Bruce Cook
Oscar Nominations - Best Actor (Bryan Cranston)
It's really depressing how many dark times we have in our nation's history, with the Red Scare being right up there. The terrifying era of McCarthy's witch hunts, where anybody could lose everything if they pissed off the wrong people. The scare even spread throughout Hollywood, which is when screenwriter Dalton Trumbo dared to speak out against the unconstitutional hearings being conducted by Congress. For his defiance, he was given a lengthy prison sentence. Upon his release, he was blacklisted from Hollywood. This film is Trumbo's insane but true story and there isn't a better man than Bryan Cranston to lead this incredible cast.
Cranston scored his first Oscar nomination with his performance as Trumbo, who is a far cry from Walter White. Cranston nails all of Trumbo's nuances and speech patterns and plays him as a sympathetic brilliant writer who believes in justice and freedom of speech. It's crazy how the entire industry and the entire country turned on him instantly. Nobody cared about his character or his work. They heard "communist" and the blinders went up. Jay Roach does a fantastic job of showing the insanity of that era and the defiant celebrities who stood up against the HUAC, like Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger, both of whom helped get Dalton Trumbo's name out of the blacklist.
I enjoyed Trumbo because of its superb performances and excellent story. It was strange seeing Louis C.K. in a dramatic role, but he did a great job and I'd like to see him do more roles like this. This film made me want to go back and watch some of Trumbo's films, like Spartacus or Roman Holiday. He was a genius who dared to stand up to a corrupt and powerful Congress. This film tells that story perfectly, thanks to a powerfully poignant performance from Bryan Cranston and respectful handling of a time in history that often gets overlooked when discussing horrible injustices.