Movie Review: Trumbo

trumbo-poster02The repeated refrain, “There’s a good story in there somewhere” is extraordinarily prescient in Jay Roach’s Trumbo (C), a rather tedious true story that finally gets compelling in its final act. Bryan Cranston plays the titular protagonist, an eccentric blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter and family man who improbably manipulated a Tinseltown underground to coax the powers that be out of their heavy-handed paranoia. Cranston shape-shifts into the role with wild abandon as a veritable Gandolfian gadfly and sly provocateur. Diane Lane gets the thankless spouse role and Dame Helen Mirren is wasted in her annual Golden Globe bait performance, in this case as a sassy socialite. Roach meanders and holds tight to too chronological a narrative, blunting the impact of the proceedings and clamping down on fruitless nuances. The tone never really gels. Some of the best bits involve actors playing real-life stars such as John Wayne and Kirk Douglas, who factor into the controversy. Ultimately far less than the sum of many interesting contributions, the film is an okay biopic that has a lot to say a little too late.

I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2015
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