Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Ah, behind the scenes drama. Just a match made in fictional heaven, isn't it? Unsurprisingly many of them are set within the years following World War II, a supposedly wholesome era of churchgoing and high morals. But as is often the case, there are more tantalizing stories from behind closed doors.

And the more tantalizing stories are the real-life ones. Lana Turner on trial for the murder of her gangster boyfriend, Robert Mitchum jailed for marijuana possession, Elizabeth Taylor's active love life...these are the stories that the masses just devour. But sometimes such scandals involve those whose faces are never seen on camera.

Jay Roach's Trumbo (if the title wasn't obvious enough) focuses on the life of Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (played here by the frequently infallible Bryan Cranston) during his time as one of the Hollywood Ten, a group of people who were refused employment because of their involvement and/or sympathies with the Communist Party. Nowadays political opinions aren't as career-threatening but bear in mind this was the early years of the Cold War. Everyone was paranoid. (It wasn't called the Red Scare for nothing.)

Trumbo also highlights the various political changes the United States went through during the 1950s. From the Rosenbergs' executions to the early years of the civil rights movement, it shows how the country's attitudes shifted from high-strung to more accepting. (Though it appears to be a repeating cycle with every passing decade...)

All in all, Trumbo is good but the story gets muddled too frequently. Still, the work from the various actors (particularly Cranston) is solid enough to keep the film moderately watchable. That all said though, this is something you can wait to see.

My Rating: ****

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