Ryster’s review published on Letterboxd:
Here's the thing with Trumbo, I thought it was a solid if not slightly disappointing biopic. I say this because I had heard about the story but only merely and I was excited to find out what actually happened. This film does tell the story but it suffers from the problem that I have with near every biopic. This film does a very fine job in telling a story that spans more than 20 to 30 years but much is left out and a lot is only glanced over. I also thought that there was a pacing issue with the film. Trumbo is a 2 hour film that does feel longer. Admittedly I wasn't bored throughout and was constantly entertained but it feels an awful lot longer than it is. I was actually surprised to see some less than favourable reviews of the film. It might not be one of the years best but this is a lot better than a lot of films that came out this year, then again it's all a matter of opinion. If you're a seasoned professional in movies and the art of moviemaking then you've probably heard Trumbo's story more than once and there's nothing new for you (besides a very good performance by Louis C.K.) and if you just watch movies for fun you might not find interest in the story.
In 1947, Dalton Trumbo and fellow screenwriters get blacklisted for their beliefs. However, their passion and need of work is too strong for people to tell them what to do. This leads Trumbo and his friends to make some well-known and well-respected screenplays of the 1950s and 1960s.
Bryan Cranston is an incredible actor. We know this for his masterclass performance in Breaking Bad. He's very good as Dalton Trumbo. I forgot that I was watching him, he totally embodies the role and hands in an excellent performance. Louis C.K. is very good in his role. His character is totally made up, he didn't exist and is solely here for drama, comedy and a character to talk to Trumbo. He's hilarious at points delivering the funniest scenes in the movie. Diane Lane does a great job as Dalton's wife. Her performance might be the most realistic and human of the lot. To that character family is everything and it's put over in a very tender way. John Goodman shows up a few times and he's very funny and entertaining. Helen Mirren does a good job as Hedda Hopper, making her the perfect villain for this story. Elle Fanning also has quite a powerful performance as Trumbo's eldest daughter. Everyone does a perfect job.
The story can be very interesting to some. I didn't know a lot about Trumbo or the whole blacklist so I was intrigued from the very start. If you're like me and really like movies and don't know a lot about this story then you'll probably like it. That being said, if you love movies and already know this story then you'll probably just be happy with the finished product. This won't entertain everyone, you definitely have to be interested in film to enjoy it. The story spans many years and because of this I found there to be a slight pacing problem. It didn't bother me that much because I was invested but I think I'll be a bit bored if I rewatched it. The cinematography and overall direction is great and really feels like an old film, it's quite fun in that aspect. The costume design is really good. Overall I enjoyed Trumbo, it's got a great story, an absolute stellar cast and entertained me even in long overdrawn scenes. Biopics are a hard thing to perfect (I believe that the best way to tell them is in the form of a mini-series or something that can span more than 2 hours) and I believe that this story could've been done better but for what Trumbo is, it's anything but bad.