Directed by Jay Roach (Meet the Parents), Trumbo follows the life of 1940s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) as he and other Hollywood figures are blacklisted for their political beliefs. Detailing Trumbo’s fight with the House Committee on Un-American Activities and his decade long struggle with his blacklisting, the film also examines the state of the film industry during the height of Joseph McCarthy’s Red Scare. Along with Cranston, the film co-stars Hellen Mirren, John Goodman, Elle Fanning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Diane Lane and Louie C.K.
For those unfamiliar with the man, Trumbo was one of the best and most successful novelists and screenwriters in Hollywood during the 1930s and 40s, receiving critical acclaim for such films including Kitty Foyle and A Guy Named Joe. However, his career derailed at the height of the Red Scare, and he came under fire for his political beliefs and past membership with the Communist Party. Called in to testify at a congressional hearing by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), Trumbo refused to provide any information on the possibility that Communist sympathizers had infiltrated the film industry. Convicted of “contempt” by the congressional committee, Trumbo served 11 months in prison and was effectively blacklisted by most Hollywood studios. Though constantly dogged by the blacklisting throughout the 50s, Trumbo continued writing screenplays under pseudonyms. Years later, he was recognized and subsequently honored for writing many films, including Spartacus, Exodus and Roman Holiday.
Honestly, after watching Breaking Bad for years, I’m willing to see Cranston in just about anything. The man has an incredible range as an actor, and has proven time and time again that he can handle comedic and dramatic material with relative ease. Additionally, it’s great to see him firmly in the lead in Trumbo, especially after constantly appearing as supporting characters in movies like Drive, Argo and Godzilla. Though he consistently gives fantastic performances, it would be nice to see Cranston appear more often as the central character in future films.
Trumbo will hit theatres November 6, 2015.