Are you now or have you ever been...
Are you now or have you ever been...
D: Jay Roach
Bleecker Street/Everyman/Shiv Hans/Groundswell (Michael London, Janice Williams, Shivani Rawat, Monica Levinson, Nimitt Mankad, John McNamara & Kevin Kelly Brown)
US 2015
124 mins


W: John McNamara [based on the book "Dalton Trumbo" by Bruce Cook]
DP: Jim Denault
Ed: Alan Baumgarten
Mus: Theodore Shapiro

Bryan Cranston (Dalton Trumbo), Diane Lane (Cleo Trumbo), Helen Mirren (Hedda Hopper), Louis C.K. (Allen Hird), Elle Fanning (Nikola Trumbo), John Goodman (Frank King), Michael Stuhlbarg (Edward G. Robinson), Alan Tudyk (Ian McLellan Hunter)

A slice of Hollywood history and the more unpleasant side of 1950's politics, with a masterclass of a central performance by Bryan Cranston as cantankerous-but-brilliant screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.
It helps to know a little of the history surrounding the Hollywood Ten, but the story still paints a fine picture for those not in the know.
Following the McCarthy witch hunts where communists were blacklisted in Hollywood, Trumbo refused to cooperate with a congress investigation and subsequently imprisoned. Upon his release, Trumbo continued to write screenplays under various pseudonyms and eventually won back the respect of Hollywood, winning a brace of Oscars in the process, much to the annoyance of anti-communist columnist Hedda Hopper, who was a key figure in getting the Hollywood Ten blacklisted in the first place.
The film does romance certain aspects of the proceedings and completely glosses over a few elements such as director Elia Kazan's contribution to the matters, but perhaps that's a story for another day.
It's Cranston's performance that makes this film eminently watchable, resulting in the actor receiving his first Academy Award nomination.
It's a film which will be most appreciated by film buffs, Hollywood enthusiasts or even fans of Bryan Cranston, but it won't be enjoyed by everyone.

Bryan Cranston in Trumbo
Bryan Cranston in Trumbo