Film Review: Trumbo

Trumbo
Directed by Jay Roach

Eye-opening and gripping, Trumbo makes its mark as a drama set in the anti-communist panic of late 1940s America. Dalton Trumbo, played by the ever-chameleonic Bryan Cranston, is a Hollywood film writer whose success comes crashing down after being blacklisted for his political beliefs. He risks his wealth and freedom as he is then thrust into a battle with those who tore his career apart. After being jailed for a year for contempt of congress, Trumbo begins writing films under pseudonyms in an attempt to claw his way back to success.

Trumbo is an exceptionally well-told story. The plot moves along quickly yet elegantly, covering two decades of Dalton Trumbo’s tumultuous life which makes for a compelling narrative. However, like a lot of Hollywood movies, it is let down by the contrived melodrama and a neat, happy ending.

Performances are generally sparkling with authenticity all round. Bryan Cranston’s attention to detail in his most celebrated role of Walter White is echoed in Trumbo as he perfects each eyebrow wiggle, finger wave and lingering syllable that rolls off his tongue. John Goodman oozes with sleaze as Frank King, the brutish third-rate studio boss, and it’s refreshing to see Helen Mirren playing an antagonist in the devout anti-Soviet columnist Hedda Hopper. Louis CK gives a rather stale performance as the cynical film writer Arlen Hird, noticeably lacking enthusiasm in the delivery of some important lines.

If you are a communist, or simply have an appetite for deliciously quaint props, jazz soundtracks and Helen Mirren in fancy hats, then you’re in luck. Unlike a Soviet regime, Trumbo has enough to satisfy everybody’s needs.

Tickets courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas.

Words by Jordan Leovic

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