Dalton Trumbo was a screenwriter who was blacklisted in the good old days of The House Un-American Activities Committee. This was a dark time in American history. The Americans that the United States Government went after during these times were not blowing things up or flying airplanes into buildings. They were doing worse things, like making movies and TV Shows.
The cast is brilliant, including Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Louis C.K., John Goodman, and Helen Mirren. The sets and costumes are great. The music is good in that it was both time period appropriate and blended into the background as if it belonged there. The most dangerous special effects were everyone smoking, popping pills, and throwing back shot after shot of any booze that was close at hand. It’s an outright miracle that anyone from the 1950s survived at all.
It’s pretty easy to look back and wonder what the hell was wrong with John Wayne and Hedda Hopper and the U.S. Government in general. Even if the school janitor was a Commie, what the hell was he likely to do to overthrow the American way of life? It was a little clearer that Hitler and Co knew how to use films as propaganda, but I’m not sure I can see how Roman Holiday or Spartacus were advancing an Un-American view of life.
Trumbo focuses on one man’s story, Dalton Trumbo, and how he goes from riches to rags as he is barred from legally doing the only work he knows how to do, screenwriting. We watch as he and his fellow writers are held in contempt of Congress and spend a year in jail. He ends up working for a hack movie company that bangs our cheap films as quickly as they can. Trumbo eventually gets tired of writing movies about gorillas and aliens and writes a good script that wins an Oscar. This is for the film, The Brave One, a movie I’d never heard of about bullfighting in Mexico.
Trumbo was a good film, I liked it. Playing in the background of the injustice of the Blacklist was the story of the Civil RIghts movement in the South. One more film that shows the Glory Days of the 1950s were not all that glorious.