HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Trumbo Well Red
Year: 2015
Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis C.K., John Goodman, Michael Stuhlbarg, Elle Fanning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Alan Tudyk, Roger Bart, Dean O’Gorman, Christian Berkel, David James Elliott, Richard Portnow, Stephen Root
Genre: BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Many Americans joined the Communist Party during the Depression of the nineteen-thirties and the fight against fascism in the forties, but once the Second World War was over and won, the Soviet Union replaced Germany and Japan as the perceived threat to their nation, and that left the Communists in a difficult position. This was down to the political philosophy being regarded as essentially anti-American, with the result that many powerful interests wished to criminalise such thinking, though there remained those who were still dedicated to the pursuit of equality in society as they saw it. One such person was Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston), and when it was revealed Communists had written popular movies, all hell broke loose...

At least it was hell for those who found themselves answering questions of the Committee that sought to root out the "unfriendly" citizens in Hollywood, who found themselves in a nation that had previously had no problem with them pursuing their lines of work pretty much being criminalised for thinking the wrong way, according to forces that were ironically verging on the fascism that they had claimed to be fighting not so long ago. That said, what was not pointed out here was there really were Communist spies in The U.S.A., just as there were American spies in the Soviet Union, so the fear was there for a reason, not simply a bunch of right wing maniacs taking over the hearts and minds of the public for their own selfish gains.

Although that was doubtless a part of the situation as well, but with Trumbo director Jay Roach, previously responsible for comedies on the big screen such as the Austin Powers series, at the helm, the sympathies were entirely with its title character who was painted in rather saintly fashion, his bad temper his only concession to him possibly being unreasonable and his entirely justified opinion that there were no Moscow spies making Hollywood movies the main engine. Cranston was given an Oscar nomination for his trouble, but it was far from his best performance as he simply set his acting to "irascible" and let John McNamara's script run through him, much as the other stars did, most of them essaying real people or at least composites of the same. The trouble with that was that many were supposed to be inhabiting well-known people, and there were differences to be seen.

Obviously not many nowadays would know what the real Dalton Trumbo was like, and on watching the clip of the man himself over the end credits it seemed Cranston didn't exactly nail his personality, but when you had portrayals of John Wayne, Edward G. Robinson or Kirk Douglas who had such distinctive personas and the ones here were far from convincing, you were in trouble. Indeed, the whole enterprise had the air of a television movie, or worse a feature length sketch show parody only without the laughs, as Roach had his serious hat on. Time and again a scene would arise supposedly depicting some historical event and you would be forced to ponder how artificial it all looked, not least because it had a shaky grasp on what it should have been doing to bring its tale to life.

Therefore Helen Mirren would enter scenes as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper like the Wicked Witch of the West, all she needed was a broomstick to swoop in on and the illusion would be complete, as the villains were far too cartoonish and the actual politics of the Blacklist were glossed over in favour of some too-vague human rights agenda. Where it did score was in its conveying the injustice of being accused of something that was not only an exercise of your freedom, that was allowing yourself to hold your own opinions as long as they were not actively endangering anyone, but also getting subjected to the blind ignorance of those who have not thought their own opinions through and cannot see that they have effectively turned into the villains they believed they were fighting against. All very well, but injustice isn't too much of a stretch to make an audience feel in a movie, and the more involved ethics and tenets that were clashing back then were ill-served by this biopic's simplifications, no matter how well-intentioned it was. Music by Theodore Shapiro.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2117 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: