The successful career of 1940s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) comes to a crushing end when he and other Hollywood figures are blacklisted for their political beliefs. TRUMBO (directed by Jay Roach) tells the story of his fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses in a war over words and freedom, which entangled everyone in Hollywood from Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and John Wayne to Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger. (official synopsis via Laughing Squid)
Standing up for what you believe is easy when there’s nothing really on the line.
But when you’re entire life could be torn asunder by taking a principled stand, then you really need to think long and hard about what you’re willing to give up to stand by what you believe.
In the case of Dalton Trumbo, caught up in the witches brew insanity of McCarthyist America, where communist enemies lie around every corner, under every bed and in every movie, holding true to his principles which see him blacklisted along with a great many other people in Hollywood and forbidden to work for 12 years, could come with a very high price indeed.
Of course, like anyone forced into a corner by an oppressive, irrational regime, he fights back behind his oppressors’ backs and figuratively right under their noses, secretly writing films like Roman Holiday and Spartacus while organising trenchant resistance to the prevailing powers of the day.
While Variety called the film that showcases his epic battle a “square, period-stiff homage” to the man and the era in which he lived, it nonetheless highlights an important principle – that refusing to bow down to small-minded, control freaks is never a wrong move since as Edmund Burke (possibly) said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
The film contains star turns from the likes of Bryan Cranston as the eponymous Trumbo, Helen Mirren as Hedda Hopper and John Goodman as Frank King, Trumbo is a film ripe for Oscar glory that makes an important point and makes it in dramatically-rich style.
Trumbo opens in USA on 6 November 2015 and Canada 20 November 2015.