Trumbo Review

“… not only shows you the life of it’s main character, but also does a great job of highlighting the time period and more specifically the issues that it had.”

Trumbo is a film that takes place during the American Red Scare of the late 1940’s and uses Hollywood Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo as it’s protagonist. Throughout the film we see Trumbo, as well as many of his friends, persecuted by the American government because of their political stances. This culminates in all of the suspected communists, Dalton Trumbo included, to be blacklisted from Hollywood in the hopes that they would never find work again. Trumbo is an interesting movie because although it is about one man, Dalton Trumbo, it attempts to tackle the entire issue of the Red Scare in America.

Trumbo is an entertaining movie, don’t get me wrong, but I felt that it kind of tripped over it’s own feet throughout the beginning. Like I said, Trumbo tries to tackle the entire issue of the Red Scare while still maintaining the fact that it is about one man. This makes sense in theory, because to tell one man’s story you can’t leave out a huge chunk of the politics that brought him there, but the movie seemed to hover in a state of awkwardness. By that I mean all of the political parts throughout the beginning of the movie felt really rushed, but that didn’t stop them from being in-depth. We were transported to different settings, hell even different years, in a matter of minutes with each scene showing something “bad” happening to the main character but the movie never let us take a breath and realize why we should feel bad for this character. We were introduced to Dalton Trumbo and then instantly all of this bad shit started happening to him, but I didn’t find myself caring. This feeling of dissociation causes the beginning of the film to feel really long and drawn out, but the movie does then pick up around the halfway point. When all of the politics seem to disappear the movie transforms into the story that it wanted to be the whole time, highlighting old Hollywood and focusing on the character of Dalton Trumbo. This section of the film is filled with hilarious banter, dramatic scenes, as well as scenes that I can only liken to a spy film. That’s not to say that this portion of the movie isn’t without it’s faults as well. In particular there is an issue that arrises in the movie (I’m not going to mention the specifics), but even though we see it building over the course of a good number of scenes it is resolved essentially with someone saying “hey, cut the shit”. Although this did bother me, it was only a minor misstep and the film quickly went back to making me laugh as well as feel for the characters.

Trumbo is a movie that is the epitome of star-studded; not only in terms of actors, but also characters that we see. Trumbo takes place in Hollywood in the 1950’s (approximately), which many would argue is the golden age of cinema, so we get to see many stars as well as directors portrayed in interesting (often hilarious, yet true to character) forms. Heading up the film is Bryan Cranston who absolutely disappears into the role of Dalton Trumbo. I am no stranger to Cranston’s work, but that didn’t prevent me from being blown away by his performance in this film. Of course, there is an immense cast of characters in this film and none of them did a bad job. I also particularly enjoyed the score of Trumbo as it used jazz as a basis which really fit the tone of the film as well as the time period. Really I enjoyed Trumbo a lot because I am a huge fan of film, so seeing this side of Hollywood is never boring for me. That being said, I don’t think that Trumbo only appeals to the film fans because it doesn’t use Hollywood as a crutch. By that I mean that at it’s core, Trumbo is a film about a man fighting for what he believes is right. And as was said in the speech at the end of the film, during this period there were no heroes or villains, only victims.

Ultimately Trumbo is a biopic that not only shows you the life of it’s main character, but also does a great job of highlighting the time period and more specifically the issues that it had. With scenes that will make you laugh and scenes that will make you really think, Trumbo is an all around enjoyable film.

I give Trumbo a B

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