Directed by: Jay Roach
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis C.K., John Goodman
Running Time: 124 Minutes
Bruce Cook published his biography Dalton Trumbo in 1977. Nearly forty years later, it was adapted for one of the finest Twentieth Century historical film accounts ever.
The Red Scare was not Mid-Twentieth Century America’s finest hour. Many of the people behind it were opportunists who knew better, and the general support it received was from an ignorant or intimidated public. The communist witch hunt ruined careers and lives, and caused some people to expose weak aspects of their character they didn’t know they had. The self-preservation instinct disgraced anyone who cooperated with the horror, and the excuses were circular.
Trumbo explores all of that, along with the grey areas in human nature. The characterizations are brilliant, and special care is taken to create an atmosphere giving the audience a sense of the era.
Keep an eye peeled for vintage cars, an early IBM electric typewriter and news footage.
There’s a lot to say about this film, but you should see it first and make your own observations rather than reading what a reviewer says. To quote a statement in the dialogue, “We both have a right to be wrong.”
Available on DVD and some streaming services.