Imagine watching a movie made up entirely of the sort of clips that play during the Oscar telecast as lists of nominees are read, and you’ve got some sense of Trumbo. This should tell you something both about the quality of the performances and the film’s self-regard.
Bryan Cranston disappears into the starring role of writer Dalton Trumbo, whose best-known works are the screenplays for Roman Holiday and Spartacus. Trumbo was one of the “Hollywood 10,” a group of screenwriters and directors who were cited with contempt of Congress in 1947 for refusing to answer questions from the House Un-American Activities Committee about their involvement with the Communist Party. He was an unabashed member of the party and a champion of workers, according to this biopic anyway, and he was willing to go to jail in defense of his First Amendment rights.