Behind Hollywood’s glamour and ludicrous paraphernalia, there are wounds that remain open. That’s why films like ‘Trumbo’ need to be released and revised because the quantity of food for thought that they have inside is highly valuable. And now, more than ever, we have to talk about what’s inside, because that’s the point of everything: of this film, of its story and of this review as well. ‘Trumbo’ has very few good things, but those few however are extremely good.
One of them is that it doesn’t give answers; it gives questions. And that’s key if you want to revise one of the most scandalous episodes of Hollywood, one of those that are still current unfortunately. ‘Trumbo’ is kind of mixture between a biopic of the life of Dalton Trumbo, one of the most prestigious screenwriters that American cinema has ever known, and a revision of the famous episode of Hollywood’s blacklists.
It’s important to question everything: not only because Trumbo’s story is about questioning the power and the ‘freedom’ of the well-known ‘factory of dreams’, but because it’s essential to understand every position, even if it’s not the one you support. ‘Trumbo’ is an excellent opportunity to see by yourself how Americans use their power of self-criticism. It managed to complete its target: to condemn the far-right fanaticism and the fantasies of McCarthyism. But also, they haven’t forgotten to think about the communist ideas, because, as they say in the film (and it’s a sentence that’s still applicable): “You support all these ideas…but you live as a rich man”.
That was actually true: Dalton Trumbo was the most well-paid screenwriter, earning approximately 4,000 dollars a week. And the money was very invested, as he’d win three Academy Awards for Best Screenplay. Obviously, such an unique character deserved an enjoyable performance, which has been portrayed perfectly by Bryan Cranston. It’s not only Cranston’s performance that is admirable, but Helen Mirren has also shone portraying Hedda Hopper, a sensationalist gossip columnist. And of course, the duty of a good feminist is to highlight the role and the brilliant job that Diane Lane has done portraying Cleo Trumbo, Dalton’s wife.
The film doesn’t avoid the feeling of being told a story of politic interests by using the life of a person as an excuse to do so. There is one last good thing in this film: after the cast and the value…there’s the script! It would have been an utter sin to have written a bad script for a biopic of such a good screenwriter. It’s such a shame that a brilliant script like this one has been so carelessly carried to screen. It’s not only a sign of weakness, it’s also missing a chance to convince people of their message, because that should always be the target of any film, either if you agree or disagree, but at least, the audience has to believe it.
But, as said, ‘Trumbo’ gives you questions, not answers. It’s important to remember those scandals after so much time.