Written by: John McNamara, Bruce Cook (book)
Directed by: Jay Roach
Starring:Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis C.K., John Goodman, Elle Fanning, Alan Tudyk, and Michael Stuhlbarg
Special Features: Who is Trumbo? Bryan Cranston becomes Trumbo
From the box:
In 1947, Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) was Hollywood’s top screenwriter until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs. Trumbo (directed by Jay Roach) recounts ho Dalton Tused words and wit to win two Academy Awards and expose the absurdity and injustice of the blacklist, which entangled everyone from gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) to John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, and Otto Preminger. The film also stars Diane Lane, John Goodman, Louis C.K., Elle Fanning, and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Trumbo is a film I was super stoked to check out. It’s about a fascinating time in the industry and in the country. Of course, the one-two punch of Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren didn’t hurt.
The thing is, that one-two punch is the best that Trumbo has on offer, with the exception of Diane Lane, the rest of the cast just seems to be phoning it in.Most of the performances feel like acting. They don’t feel natural or comfortable and it prevented me from fully getting into the movie and enjoying it as much as I was hoping to. Is it the direction? Maybe. Trumbo doesn’t feel like a dramatic film. It feels like a comedy even though it isn’t at all funny. It feels like the story isn’t being taken at all seriously. This is a dark time in hollywood, in america no less, but the film seems to shrug it off. It’s hard to explain except that it’s disappointing.
It’s an interesting story that is made into a woefully inconsistent film. A story I feel would have been better served by a stronger dramatic director, one who might be able to direct his cast to stronger more natural performances rather than relying on the strength of the “stars.”
Blu-ray wise, it looks great. Crisp picture and sound but completely undercut on the special features. No real supplementals outside of a couple featurettes. No historical stuff, nothing of any interest at all.
Unfortunately, the only real selling point of Trumbo is the fantastic performances of Cranston and Mirren, otherwise it’s just a big missed opportunity to create something special and believe me, no one is more disappointed than me.
Garon Cockrell is the Founder and Editor of Pop Culture Beast and host of The Pop Culture Beast Show. He founded the site over seven years ago to have a place on the internet to write about the things he loved. Since then, Garon has become a best-selling author (Demonic and Other Tales), an award winning screenwriter (Best Screenplay 2013 Motor City Nightmares Film Festival), and a cast member on the top rated podcast, Never Not Funny.