Director: Jay Roach
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Louis C.K., Diane Lane
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
In 1947, Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) was Hollywood’s top screenwriter until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs. Trumbo (directed by Jay Roach) recounts how Dalton used words and wit to win two Academy Awards and expose the absurdity and injustice of the blacklist, which entangled everyone from gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) to John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.
‘Trumbo’ recounts the story of the talented screenwriter and acknowledged communist Dalton Trumbo (Cranston) beginning around the late 1940’s after being subpoenaed and jailed for his communist beliefs at which point he along with numerous others are placed on a lengthy blacklist barring them from working anywhere in the movie industry. Refusing to merely accept the unjust decision and blacklist, Trumbo joins forces with his fellow blacklisted colleagues writing under various pseudonyms for a producer of trashy films with the hope of beginning to take steps toward finally eradicating the ridiculous blacklist once and for all.
Directed by Jay Roach (Meet the Parents) from a script by John McNamara (Them) which was based upon the book ‘Dalton Trumbo’ by Bruce Cook, Roach does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘Trumbo’ and quite clearly shows us that while he may be best known for such directorial efforts as installments in both the ‘Austin Powers’ and ‘Meet the Parents’ franchises, he is a tremendously talented filmmaker, a fact ‘Trumbo’ makes abundantly clear. Even with the talented hand of Roach guiding this powerful true story, the film also owes a great deal to the cast of talented individuals including Bryan Cranston, Louis C.K., Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Michael Stuhlbarg, John Goodman, Elle fanning, Alan Tudyk and many more, all of whom deliver exceptional performances in each of their respective roles, even with Bryan Cranston effortlessly stealing the show.
‘Trumbo’ is a truly wonderful film, exuding warmth, humor and an abundance of emotion sure to worm its way into even the most hardened facade. Even for those such as me who may not be overly familiar with the story of Dalton Trumbo, the film should have no trouble pulling you in for the fascinating and notable story of his ordeals. Guided with a surprising beauty by director Jay Roach whose previous work behind the camera has primarily consisted of goofy comedies, yet Roach shows his obvious talent here and guides the film along with true grace, boosted by a cast of amazing actors including the incredibly talented Bryan Cranston in a truly phenomenal performance here as he embodies Dalton Trumbo with wonder. Many may refer to the film as Oscar-Bait and regardless of whether or not that may be the case one thing is certain; this is one fantastic film that you won’t want to miss out on.
Overall, ‘Trumbo’ is a marvelous film and a potential career changer for director Jay Roach who does a fantastic job guiding this powerful true story. Filled with plenty of heart, pain and laughter, and featuring a brilliant performance by Bryan Cranston in the title role, I cannot recommend ‘Trumbo’ highly enough. This is a wonderful film that anyone who appreciates quality filmmaking or is a fan of Cranston’s (or other cast members’) work will want to make certain to check out, it’s easily more than worth the cost of a rental.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Trumbo’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding, delivering a consistently sharp, detailed and gorgeous high definition video presentation with not a single fault noticeable within. It perfectly captures the beauty of the set and costume design and holds up in every regard, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible even during the few darker and/or fast moving sequences. Overall, this is a nearly flawless high definition video presentation that should easily thrill the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds fantastic and provides a clean and crisp audio presentation from start to finish. While the film doesn’t provide much opportunity for an overly aggressive audio presentation, it takes advantage of all five available channels on occasion to surround the viewer with the perfectly fitting soundtrack in addition to crowd chatter, applause and other casual ambience. Overall, this is a wonderful 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Trumbo’ includes a couple of short behind the scenes Featurettes that include interviews with the cast and crew. The included Featurettes are ‘Who Is Trumbo?’ (running approximately 4 minutes in length), and ‘Bryan Cranston Becomes Trumbo’ (approximately 2 minutes).