TRUMBO SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS D: Jay Roach. U.S. 124 min..
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS D: Jay Roach. U.S. 124 min. Sep 12, 9 pm Elgin Sep 13, 9 am Isabel Bader. See listings. Rating: NNN
Trumbo is the West Coast answer to Good Night, And Good Luck.
It tells the story of McCarthy’s assault on American civil liberties from the perspective of the Hollywood screenwriter who undermined the blacklist by finding new ways to keep working. Bryan Cranston has a hell of a time playing Dalton Trumbo, the crusading Communist screenwriter who won Oscars for Roman Holiday and The Brave One – which were credited to a front writer and a pseudonym.
As with Roach’s previous political docudramas Recount and Game Change, a by-the-numbers story is embiggened by dead-on casting: Helen Mirren is magnificently snide as Hedda Hopper, Michael Stuhlbarg and Dean O’Gorman pull off Edward G. Robinson and Kirk Douglas respectively, and John Goodman steals his every scene as producer Frank King.
It’s not great cinema – it’s pretty much just decent TV – but Cranston’s fantastic, and it’s a story that’s certainly worth telling.