Trumbo is a well-timed reminder

Trumbo famously liked to write in his bathtub. I guess you could say he had a “clean” writing style.
Trumbo famously liked to write in his bathtub. I guess you could say he had a “clean” writing style.
Trumbo famously liked to write in his bathtub. I guess you could say he had a “clean” writing style.

BY JOHN PAUL KING  |  When most younger Americans hear the phrase “Cold War,” it likely conjures vague impressions of backyard bomb shelters and spy vs. spy intrigue in far-flung corners of the world; but when confronted with the acronym “HUAC,” odds are good that many of them will be able to come up with nothing more than a blank stare.  That’s a pity, because in today’s political climate, the history of the House Un-American Activity Committee should be an essential cornerstone of our cultural knowledge.  For that reason alone, “Trumbo,” director Jay Roach’s new biopic about the most prominent member of the so-called “Hollywood Ten,” is a must-see.

- Advertisement -

I won’t go into detail about the anti-Communist hysteria in post-WWII America- after all, this is a film review, not a history lesson.  Suffice to say that Dalton Trumbo was a prominent Hollywood screenwriter, called before congress to answer questions about his affiliations to the American Communist Party.  Standing on his constitutional rights, he refused to cooperate; not only was he convicted of contempt, political pressure on the Hollywood establishment resulted in a blacklist which prevented the hiring of film artists who would not testify before the congressional committee, and he was left with no means to make a living despite being one of the most lauded scribes in the industry.  “Trumbo,” recounts this history, and goes on from there to detail the story of the writer’s determined climb out of the ashes.

John McNamara’s screenplay focuses its attention on the man himself, giving us a whirlwind tour of his 13-year struggle, and intertwining the political with the personal through an emphasis on private scenes- as well as some healthy dashes of humor along the way.  Through the periphery of Trumbo’s story, we are given glimpses of careers destroyed, lives ruined, and good people forced to betray their friends and their ideals.  The result is a film that delivers a timely socio-political warning about governmental overreach, disguised as a safe, middle-of-the-road narrative.

Some might argue that the story of this dark chapter in Hollywood history might be better told by a less “Hollywood” movie.  Even through its darkest moments, we know that the hero will triumph and the powers that oppress him will be vanquished.  Most were not so lucky; their careers were permanently derailed, and the few survivors still had to wait years after the blacklist fell before getting work.  In addition, though it strives to convey the complex ethics of the situation, it paints at least one character (notorious gossip columnist Hedda Hopper) as a clear target for the audience’s moral outrage without offering any satisfactory insight into the motivations which may have driven her.  It should also be said that “Trumbo” “re-arranges” facts for smoother story-telling- standard movie-making procedure, perhaps, but regrettable, nonetheless.

Such quibbling aside, the film delivers a solid, honorable account of a determined man’s journey through darkness.  Contributing to that is a meticulous recreation of the mid-century period, achieved through set and costume designs that convey the passage of time by reflecting subtle changes in the prevailing styles.  More important, though, are the strong performances, provided by an ensemble ranging from familiar Oscar-winners to relative unknowns.  A few standouts: Michael Stuhlberg, portraying actor Edward G. Robinson through suggestion rather than impersonation; John Goodman, hilarious as the no-nonsense producer who employed Trumbo during the blacklist; and Helen Mirren as Hopper, who reveals the tough-as-nails power-player masquerading as a blowsy busybody while still managing to give us glimmers of her humanity- despite the script’s failure to do so.

The impressive cast, however, rightly takes a back seat to Bryan Cranston, who displays his astonishing range with every subtle shift of expression.  He completely inhabits the larger-than-life Trumbo with an authenticity that never makes him seem affected.  He’s a delight to watch- the image of him doggedly typing away in the bathtub is bound to become iconic- but never afraid to show us Trumbo’s ugly side; and despite his exceptional work throughout, he saves the best for his final, moving recreation of a late-in-life speech that and leaves us with a powerful impression of Trumbo’s integrity.

That integrity, of course, is a given from the beginning of the film; but “Trumbo” is not meant to surprise.  It is meant, rather, to retell of a story that should always be retold.  As its postscript reminds us, the Communist witch hunt affected people in all segments of the population, not just members of the Hollywood elite.  Though set in a time gone by, the film is chillingly contemporary; and if paranoia and political opportunism can combine to persecute a wealthy white man, then who is really safe?  It’s easy to point out that none of us are Trumbo- but his story serves as a reminder that he could be any one of us.

TRUMBO Director: Jay Roach Writers: John McNamara, Bruce Cook (book) Stars: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren PLAYING:  ArcLight Hollywood and Sherman Oaks, Landmark Theatres
Director: Jay Roach
Writers: John McNamara, Bruce Cook (book)
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren
PLAYING: ArcLight Hollywood and Sherman Oaks, Landmark Theatres



  1. oakley sale

    Aw, this was a basically top quality article. In theory I’d prefer to write like this also – taking time and genuine work to produce a quality content but what can I say I procrastinate alot and never seem to have anything done.

  2. faux sac hermes

    avec rage. Il hadbeen depuis longtemps tout avait osé ainsi me.Yes barbe, elle a répondu bravement; c’est! Ou, restez; vous ne pouvez pas aller les mains vides. Et enfonçant son bras sous l’oreiller, elle tira, après la recherche amoments, un petit…

  3. belstaff on sale

    Stumbled into this article by chance but I’m sure glad I clicked on that link. You positively answered all the questions I have been dying to answer for some time now. Will certainly come back for more of this. Thank you so much

  4. cheap patagonia jackets

    Personally Im impressed by the quality of this. Generally when I come across these sort of things I like to post them on Digg. I dont think this would be the best to submit though. Ill look around and find another article that may work.

  5. Mont Blanc Pens Outlet

    Good to be going to your blog once more, it has been months for me. Nicely this article that ive been waited for so long. I require this write-up to total my assignment in the school, and it has same subject together with your article. Thanks, excellen…

  6. patagonia outlet online

    The above writing was outstanding. I find it very remarkable and I will certainly forward this to my buddies on the world wide web. Anyway, thank you for sharing this.

  7. Air max pas cher

    It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or advice. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to r…

  8. Centascope

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I¡®ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.

  9. website

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the…

  10. Logistica Alonso

    I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem. You are incredible! Thanks!

  11. Vibro plates in Clonakilty

    Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  12. Architecture Energy

    When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  13. golden goose

    Recenser, Davy se livra tofurther spéculations intellectuelles. Dans ses carnets, il griffonnait de vastes essais, oftenunfinished, sur des sujets tels que la formation de l’intelligence à partir de l’utérus, avant la naissance; L’histoire de la Pa…

  14. hermes birkin

    nous entre l’eau-melons.He parlé du Hotoke-umi et le malheur d’être en mer le jour six dix- du septième mois. Il nous a dit que même le grand steamersnever allé à la mer pendant le Bon: pas d’équipage se hasarderait à prendre shipout alors. Et il r…

  15. hermes ceinture pas cher

    Selon Gunn, un smallisland dans le duché de Slesvig au Danemark, maintenant appelé Angel, de whichFlensburg est la métropole. D’où l’origine des Angles. 2 V.R.Gnoiram cono, Goiranegono, Guiracgono. Malmesbury, Gorongi; Camden, Guorong, censé signifi…

  16. golden goose 35

    était un boulanger et pâtissier dans Oxfords HighStreet, populaire auprès des étudiants de premier cycle, et aussi bien connu comme un chimiste andinventor amateur. La chambre arrière de sa boulangerie était vraiment un laboratoire. Sadler avait lu th…

  17. sneakers golden goose

    rien au sérieux, mais la science de la musique, dans laquelle il s’alreadyconsidered à juste titre virtuoso.20At quatorze William a rejoint le groupe régimentaire Hanovre, aux côtés de Jacob et hisfather. Il a rapidement appris à tourner sa main à un…

  18. grand palais saut hermes

    eu tendance à occulter dans la nationalmemory la partie qui à la fois Babylone et l’Egypte ont pu jouer inmoulding la civilisation des plus petites nations avec lesquelles ils sont venus inContact. Pour une telle influence les courses de la Syrie éta…

  19. golden goose sneakers

    muchadmired calpestato. La vergogna, il dolore, e la paura di quello che sarebbe il suo comedrove quasi al distraction.At alla fine di tre giorni, il signor Lee, in qualità di suo padrone, che aveva beenap golden goose stock prised del suo arresto, è…

  20. sciarpa uomo burberry

    lei repeated.Ive già fatto la mia mente a that.Well, allora! ha detto, con aria di soddisfazione, ma il motivo per cui dontknow.I tornato a pioppeto. La dichiarazione era finita e thecrowd non c burberry udine ‘era più, ma c’era l’On. Samuel Budd,…

  21. borse valentino 2017

    Dedicato a theright Gentleman nobile, Maestro Philip Sidney, Esquire. Sidney himselfA DIFESA DI POESIE E POEMS6wrote versi, è stato compagno con i poeti, e contava EdmundSpenser tra i suoi amici. Gossons opuscolo era una sola expressionof la forma ris…

  22. borsa burberry costo

    funzione utilizza un incidenza più solida quasi verticale QVIto misurare l’altezza della ionosfera nei pressi della trasmissione e receivingsites, che, come accennato in precedenza può essere miglia di distanza, e un impermeabile burberry donna a più…

  23. outlet burberry napoli

    le cose stanno andando Tobe, ma rendono le deduzioni logiche per l’effetto di tali disturbi ontheir proprie possibilità di importazione di che cosa hanno bisogno. Ad esempio, Lenin mi saidto che lo shock della rivoluzione in Inghilterra garantirebbe…

  24. sciarpe burberry outlet

    silenziosamente sulla terra di Brittany.Still Gaud rimasto alla sua finestra. Il mercato-luogo di Paimpol, coperto da ogni parte dalle vecchie case, è diventato più triste andsadder con il Dark burberry uomo milano ling; ovunque regnava il silenzio. S…

  25. cinture burberry uomo prezzi

    comportare l’inconveniente di andare verso il basso per TheThe AVVENTURE DI GERARD77wood. Tuttavia, una promessa è una promessa, e ti sembra di essere un excellentfellow, quindi ci sarà risparmiato alcuno dolori per soddisfare il vostro wishes.You ha…

  26. bauletto burberry outlet

    mostrando, con un’attenta analisi e commentation, come gli uomini utilizzati towrite agli antichi, o meglio il modo in cui recarci uomini utilizzati per scriverle; per, prendere in considerazione, se avessero veram burberry calzature ente saputo la c…

  27. bracelet hermes homme

    Et vite son sang coulait; Et il était mal dans la douleur, Andheavy avec son armure, et a passé à l’évolution des coups: Et souvent lui theythought naufrage, mais encore nouveau, il rose.LXIINever, je Ween, le nageur a fait, Dans un tel cas, le mal,…

  28. shopper burberry

    quando Argyll lasciato l’incarico nel 1742, mentre Walpole perse il potere, Carteret e il duca di Newcastle successo. Nel 1743 Murray ha trovato che la Francia, anche se ora a withEngland guerra per la successione spagnola ballerine burberry outlet ,…

  29. grand prix hermes 2017

    Les représentants des consultwith des grandes traditions religieuses à la fois sur le thème de la povertyand leur évaluation du travail de la Banque mondiale dans ce domaine. Cette consultation, qui a donné une riche série d’idées, est résumée dans u…

  30. cinture hermes outlet

    il calore abituale; Ma tutto il resto, che non feardurst applicano, in mancanza di se stessi, con la coscienza inaridita die.VI.Of navi da Cast naufragio sulla costa Albions, che marcire in therocks, la loro morte morire: dalle ossa di legno e sangue…

  31. burberry style

    filosofia; tuttavia, quando troviamo la stessa strana dreamarising, apparentemente senza intercomunione di pensiero, tra i oldHindoos, tra i greci, tra gli ebrei; e, infine, quando vediamo itspri burberry camicie donne outlet nging ancora nel Medioevo…

  32. cinture hermes uomo

    obiezione specifica, che, se ho capito bene, è questo, tale disposizione corretta non è stata fatta contro l’esistenza ofstanding armate in tempo di pace; un’obiezione che, passo ora en-deavor per mostrare, poggia su foundations.It debole e inconsis…

  33. outlet burberry londra online

    nel p burberry castel romano telefono iano thewhole più completamente difendibile di questo. La sua proprietà restsupon la prova di questa proposizione semplice, che EVERYGOVERNMENT debbano contenere in sé la MEZZI ofits CONSERVAZIONE PROPRIO. Ogni so…

  34. finger sex

    […]although web-sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not associated to ours, we really feel they’re essentially worth a go by way of, so have a look[…]

  35. Small vibrator

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine several unrelated information, nevertheless truly really worth taking a appear, whoa did 1 discover about Mid East has got extra problerms as well […]

  36. هاست

    […]although sites we backlink to below are considerably not connected to ours, we really feel they’re basically worth a go by, so possess a look[…]

  37. sex Maza

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a handful of unrelated information, nonetheless definitely worth taking a look, whoa did one particular master about Mid East has got a lot more problerms at the same time […]

  38. 80’s hits

    […]check beneath, are some entirely unrelated sites to ours, on the other hand, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  39. sex video

    […]although web-sites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we really feel they may be really really worth a go by, so have a look[…]

  40. rsync hacks

    […]very couple of web sites that take place to become in depth below, from our point of view are undoubtedly nicely really worth checking out[…]

  41. amazon offers

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine some unrelated information, nevertheless actually worth taking a look, whoa did one particular master about Mid East has got a lot more problerms as well […]

  42. Belize city hotels

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a couple of unrelated information, nonetheless genuinely worth taking a search, whoa did one study about Mid East has got far more problerms as well […]

  43. zand game

    […]although web sites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we really feel they’re basically worth a go by way of, so possess a look[…]

  44. sex toy review

    […]we prefer to honor several other online web-sites around the internet, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages worth checking out[…]

Comments are closed.