RELEASED 2015 RUNTIME 124 MIN LANGUAGE ENGLISH DIRECTION JAY ROACH SCREENPLAY JOHN McNAMARA STARRING BRYAN CRANSTON, DIANE LANE, HELEN MIRREN, LOUIS C. K., ELLE FANNING, JOHN GOODMAN, MICHAEL STUHLBARG, ALAN TUDKY, DEAN O’GORMAN MUSIC THEODORE SHAPIRO
Trumbo is a biopic about Dalton Trumbo (Brian Chranston), a successful Hollywood screenwriter who gets blacklisted alongside other Hollywood screenwriter, directors and actors because of their political views, in particular their affiliation with the communist party in the US at a time when communists were viewed as enemies of the state.
This is the Brian Chranston show! I say that in a good way because the movie revolves entirely around his performance. He is the heart and soul of the film and without his great performance, I don’t think the film would have had the impact it’s trying to convey.
Most people know Brian Chranston from Breaking Bad, and it took me about 5 minutes to shake off Heisenberg from my mind. But after that I totally forgot that there was an actor on screen. I felt like I was watching the real Dalton Trumbo.
The support cast is amazing as well. Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis C. K., Michael Stuhlbarg, John Goodman, to name a view.
Especially John Goodman as Frank King (King Bros. Pictures) sticks out as being hilarious and awesome.
Also Helen Mirren does a great job for playing a despicable character, Hedda Hopper, a Hollywood columnist. Fuck her, seriously 😉
I also want to give a shoutout to Dean O’Gorman playing Kirk Douglas. He totally looks like him and acts like him. There are a few scenes where I wasn’t sure if it’s some archive footage of the real Kirk Douglas or him. Bravo!
I like the story very much and it’s amazing to think how paranoid Americans were about communism back then.
To be honest, I still think they are today when looking at the political debate going on right now. The term socialist is being thrown left an right. Let me tell you America, you have no fucking idea. But that’s a topic for another time.
Even though the story is pretty straight forward, I never felt like the movie was just checking off plot points for the sake of showing what happened to the character like many biopics try to do. Everything feels organic and purposeful for the story.
Some little problems I have though. I don’t like how some characters don’t seem to age at all, while others age like crazy.
Diane Lane is a beautiful lady. But even beautiful ladies age. It’s very obvious since she plays Trumbo’s wife and while he grows gray hair and wrinkles over the course of the movie, she pretty much stays the exact same. Please tell me your secret!
But that’s nothing compared to one of the daughters. Madison Wolfe as Niki Trumbo gets recast in the middle of the movie in favor of Elle Fanning to show her growing up. It’s fine. Only thing is, she supposedly ages by about 5 years (from the looks of course) in a span of 12 months (that’s how long Trumbo was in jail).
The movie acknowledges that in a playful way, but come on. I still don’t buy that.
Overall, I had so much fun with the film. If you love Brian Chranston, this is a no-brainer. Watch it! He was nominated for the Oscar, which we know by now went to Leo DiCaprio. Nevertheless, he does a fantastic job. Also if you are a sucker for movies about old Hollywood and Cold War settings (like me), this is the movie for you. I also think it’s a good companion piece to Hail Ceasar, which came out also this year and tackles a similar topic.
Btw. You have no idea how many movies Trumbo won academy awards for under a different name. It’s amazing! I’m so interested now to read more about this guy and to watch all the movies he wrote. If a movie can do that to you, you know it’s good.