Trumbo Review



Cast overview, first billed only:
Bryan Cranston Bryan Cranston
Michael Stuhlbarg Michael Stuhlbarg
David Maldonado David Maldonado
John Getz John Getz
Sam Wood
Diane Lane Diane Lane
Laura Flannery Laura Flannery
Party Goer
Helen Mirren Helen Mirren
David James Elliott David James Elliott

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

Review- Another day, another awesome life-story watered down into something bland and uncontroversial. The more things change…

Trumbo (which my auto-correct insists should be rewritten as  Dumbo)  should have been an awesome gritty film. Set during the height of the ‘red scare,’ where anyone who was even accused of being a Communist was blacklisted and therefore unable to work one man took a stand and dealt with the consequences and the fallout.

So, a family risking it all, red scares, people scraping and ‘informing’ on each other AND this film stars Walter White!

So why is it so safe?

Why is there no tension?

Why does it feel like it was made for my Grandmother?

And why exactly IS Bryan Cranston being nominated for an Academy Award?

I can answer the last one- Hollywood loves to pat itself on the back (which is why Argo did so well a few years ago) and as such Cranston is pretty much a sure thing.  As to the rest? I have no idea.

Trumbo is never really forced to question his beliefs, nor does it ever really seem that his family is under any serious pressure or at any sort of risk at all. The film lacks a primary antagonist (although Dame Helen Mirren as a Lady Gaga impersonator might fill that role if i’m being generous) it has a sense of inevitability about it. The film lacks any sort of teeth is what i’m trying to say.

And, inevitably, I have no real idea of the time-span over which this film takes place (although a good drinking game might be made out of whenever a new actor plays one of Trumbo’s children)

Its well shot, lit, the musics pretty good and its always nice to see ex Firefly actors getting work but it’s annoyingly bland and with just a touch more grit could have been so much more.

My Score- If Nothing Else


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