Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Argo) gives a cracking performance as Dalton Trumbo, the Hollywood screenwriter who was blacklisted after refusing to testify in the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947.
Director Jay Roach
Producers Monica Levinson, Michael London, Shivani Rawat, Jay Roach, Janice Williams, John McNamara, Nimitt Mankad
Screenwriter John McNamara
With Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis C.K., Elle Fanning, John Goodman
UK distribution Entertainment One
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Argo) gives a cracking performance as Dalton Trumbo, the Hollywood screenwriter who was blacklisted after refusing to testify in the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947. The ‘Hollywood Ten’ remains one of the most sensational stories of the McCarthy era and Trumbo is one of its most enduring names, a bitter irony given that he was not initially credited for his Academy Award winning screenplays – Roman Holiday and The Brave One – both of which were penned whilst the blacklist was in effect. This absurdity is not lost on director Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Meet the Parents) or writer John McNamara, whose engrossing script takes plenty of dramatic (and comedic) licence with the potent historical subject matter. Together they have created a thoroughly entertaining biopic that ripples with a palpable love of Hollywood in its heyday, whilst revealing the hypocrisies and moral turpitude of the time. Diane Lane is superb as Trumbo’s loyal wife Cleo, with Elle Fanning equally captivating as the feisty elder daughter who inherits her father’s political conviction. Amongst the film’s many pleasures are truly memorable performances from Helen Mirren as the infamous gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, John Goodman as an unscrupulous B-movie producer and Louis C.K. as the film’s most poignant and affecting character, a friend and fellow writer who refuses to compromise his principles.