Internet Movie Database Movie Reviews
From the book Dalton Trumbo by Bruce Cook
A docudrama about Dalton Trumbo and the blacklisted Hollywood writers in the 50s.
Mr. Otter and I saw previews of this movie and we were all excited about it, being writer/librarian types (well, he’s a writer and we’re both librarians…) We were ready to go at the beginning of December when it opened…in NEW YORK. And a few art theaters. And NOWHERE around us.
So we waited patiently, and just before Christmas, it opened across the country; we actually went to a theater we hate (overpriced and no coffee. AMC really sucks.) just because it was literally the only time that weekend we could see this movie.
And we were so happy with it.
Bryan Cranston is a huge favorite of ours, we’ve seen Breaking Bad twice and really really like him. We even went back and watched a bunch of Malcolm in the Middle (a show that we had heard of but that, tvless as we are, we had totally missed when it was being broadcast) for his sake. And he is a perfect choice to play Trumbo.
My younger friends had no historical context for this movie, but even though the blacklist was before I was born (but not, I feel compelled to point out, before Mr. Otter’s birth. Just sayin’.) it is still in my ‘recent history’ brain file…I feel very comfortable back to about 1930 as recent history.
Anyway. So we went to see it, and it was WONDERFUL. Concise, well written, full of good actors in various bit parts (including Helen Mirren as Hedda Hopper, John Goodman, Joaquin Phoenix, and, of course, Alan Tudyk, who was very very good.
This movie takes Trumbo from 1947, when he was a thriving and respected screenwriter, through the insanity of the communist witchhunts and the blacklisting of the Hollywood 10, his prison time, and out the other end when he’s trying to make a living as someone who still cannot be openly hired. The actors who play well-known famous people (John Wayne, Edward G. Robinson, Hedda Hopper) are all excellent, but the best was Dean O’Gorman playing Kirk Douglas…in one scene, he’s watching the rushes from the movie Spartacus (which Trumbo wrote but couldn’t take credit for.) The rushes are from the actual movie, except for one scene, which they redid with O’Gorman instead, and it fits in so seamlessly it’s kind of mind blowing.
This was an amazing movie. Well written, well acted, and it really showed up the blacklist for the vicious evilness that it was. Everyone should go see this movie. Now. Really, just go ahead, you can read more reviews later.