Trumbo

Trumbo ★★★★½

Dalton Trumbo was the guy who wrote some of my personal favourite movies: Gun Crazy, Exodus, Spartacus, El niño y el toro, Papillon... So it was a pleasant surprise that this biopic didn't mess up at all the material it was dealing with. I mean, look at the abysmal Hitchcock (2012), also co-starring Helen Mirren in, understandably, a pretty bland and thoroughly regrettable portrayal of Alma Reville. As that forgettable production was unworthy of its main subject, this one, with the same Mirren in the role of a beyond-bitchy, despicable Hedda Hopper, excels in doing Trumbo justice not only as a filmmaker, but also as a human being.

It is a fittingly very well-written screenplay, to begin with, in honor of one of the greatest writers Hollywood has ever benefited from, and the victims of the anti-communist witchhunt that stained America's democracy. As someone who is not an American-born citizen, I can confirm that the feeling of being willingly ignored or been made to pass as if you were not there, just invisible air, like Dalton Trumbo and others in the Black List, while, of course, being noticed right away when it comes to harm you and putting you down, it's one that resonates across the borders.

Needless to say, part of the entertainment --the harder the real drama, the higher the adventure peaks, that's fiction's nature even when it supposedly is non-fiction-- in a historical account such as this involves a few characters that the audience might feel uncomfortable watching under a light which scrutinizes them in a way so that they aren't able to escape their human imperfections, unlike in the movies they shone in and drove via their star power. And we are talking star power, indeed: Edward G. Robinson, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, even Otto Preminger, appear in positions that demand an extraordinary moral capacity to make decisions between right and wrong. They all being pretty much well-cast and all, I would have given the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor to John Goodman, who is a riot as B-movie producer Frank King.

In the lead, Bryan Cranston was simply great, conveying a much needed dignity and vulnerability to the proceedings. Excellent job by director Jay Roach, and specially screenwriter John McNamara (who also co-produced), whose work was at least nominated by the Writers Guild of America. Finally, you learn a big deal of what was like to be a writer in Hollywood during the final years of the Golden Age of classic movies, and that side of the film makes it a must-see for all kinds of exquisite movie buffs, like myself, interested in literature and writing. While it still is a fascinating education, all the deepest meanings and major consequences beneath the most tastefully done, matter-of-fact recreation of events in Trumbo speak of the nasty nature of our species, and a legacy which is actually frightening in its in-progress status.