Like how religion can be a controversial choice in today’s time, political choice can also be something that might cause a few people to walk away. We’re always going to have something to argue about and the way people feel about how their lives should be run is something that no middle ground will ever be found. Like how people make their choices about religion, political choice often relies on their personality of people. Those that want to keep to a routine and believe in self reliance are often republican while those that are more open to new ideas and feel that government should be more socialist are democratic.
What about other options? Given how much publicity the two big parties have, it’s hard to consider the idea that another party may be out there. In the case of today’s review, there is also the communist party. I’m not talking about the government of the Soviet Union, but the American party that’s looking for a shot in Congress. People are free to make their own opinions, but in a time when the Cold War was putting a lot of fear into the minds of American’s, being a communist meant assuming that you were supposed to hate America. A screenwriter’s principle is tested in Trumbo.
In the 1950’s, Dalton Trumbo (played by Bryan Cranston) is considered one of the best writers in Hollywood, constantly getting work and living a nice life with his wife Cleo (played by Diane Lane) and his children. Among his high life in tinsel town, he is an outspoken member of the Communist Party of the USA along with his fellow screenwriting friend Arlen Hird (played by Louis C.K.). Trumbo and Hird are a part of ten screenwriters that are called into Congress to testify regarding alleged communist propaganda in Hollywood.
All of them refuse to answer any questions, resulting them into all of them being charged with contempt in court. Trumbo and his friends are sent to prison and put on a Blacklist that prevents them from working in Hollywood. Though Trumbo serves his time, he finds his credibility destroyed and no one is willing to hire him. In a desperate bid to work, he hands over his screenplay of Roman Holiday to a friend and secures work as a ghost writer for a B-Movie production company. Here is where he makes a business to remain quiet about his work until someone offers him the chance to reclaim his name.
Though I think we’ve gotten some movies before about the Hollywood Blacklist, Trumbo really establishes how unfair it was to the point that it ruined careers for really no reason other then a prejudice. This is likely to make some people angry over the portrayal of actors like John Wayne scrutinizing Dalton Trumbo, but this is simply showing how much of a real cold war was going on in Hollywood.
Bryan Cranston proves how much of a great actor he is, showing Dalton Trumbo as an oddball, but a guy of high principle that simply wanted to say that he doesn’t hate America, but rather had his own idea of how people should think.
They never make it clear on whether or supposed to like or hate Trumbo; It’s a character study that lets it’s audience draw their own conclusions. I myself was very intrigued by how this guy wanted to make his work thrive, yet made sure that he kept quiet. I simply wanted to jump into a time machine and tear up that blacklist just so that he could have collected his awards. Trumbo was one of the most interesting looks into classic Hollywood I’ve seen in a while
I’ll give this four and a half classic cigarette holders out of five. Trumbo combines it’s goals of being a character study and a look into an unfair system with wit and class, without giving us too much of a side to stay on. I highly recommend this movie.