You can blacklist the person, but never the talent hidden inside of him. In this case, that individual is Dalton Trumbo, one of the most successful writers in Hollywood, who was blacklisted for his communist views. However, that did not stop him from writing the screenplays for some of the most beloved films in America and in the world: Roman Holiday, Spartacus, Exodus and The Brave One where his name appeared in credits as Robert Rich. Jay Roach’s TRUMBO, based on Bruce Cook’s book, will show how Hollywood’s top screenwriter was jailed and blacklisted for his political beliefs.
During the 1930s, in response to the Great Depression and the rise of Fascism, thousands of Americans joined the Communist Party of the United States. In 1943, screenwriter Dalton Trumbo becomes a member of the Party. Due to the Cold War, the hunt begins against those who supported Communism, and Trumbo, among other writers and representatives of Hollywood, are blacklisted and sent to jail. When the film begins, we find Trumbo in his bathroom writing another masterpiece, when it’s already 1947. Soon after he becomes an enemy of the people and the most hated person in America.
However, while the American people and those who jailed Trumbo enjoy Roman Holiday, no one even imagines that the real person who wrote the screenplay for their beloved film is Dalton Trumbo! As the film progresses, you get the chance to get into dirty laundry of Hollywood, while the brilliance of one man still stands out, despite the hate and negativity surrounding him. During this time, the viewer gets the chance to fully enjoy the Golden Era of Hollywood, to meet Kirk Douglas, John Wayne and Hedda Hopper played by Oscar winner, Helen Mirren.
TRUMBO is well-crafted film, superbly delivers the period, and manages to capture the desperation, almost ready to give up, but never hopeless Dalton Trumbo. Bryan Cranston as Trumbo is at his best. I am quite sure Trumbo himself would have lauded him for his magnificent performance, if he were still alive. More importantly, this film pays tribute to those who were unfairly jailed or lost their lives due to the Cold War, that made government to go against everyone who were registered in Communist party. From the cinematic point of view, Roach’s film is now more important than ever, bringing up a serious subject that surely can’t be ignored at any cost.