“There’s nothing wrong with being an intelligent, pruned-down, HBO-level biopic, which is pretty much what you get with Jay Roach‘s Trumbo (Bleecker Street, 11.6). A political biopic, I should say — an above-average portrait of the Hollywood blacklist era, and a better-than-decent capturing of one the most gifted and industrious blacklisted screenwriters ever. A moustachioed, sandpaper-voiced Bryan Cranston portrays the stalwart titular hero; I felt completely at home with the guy. Trumbo was one of the most gifted wordsmiths in Hollywood history — a winner of two screenwriting Oscars (Roman Holiday, The Brave One) during his under-wraps period, and also the author of A Guy Named Joe, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Cowboy, Spartacus, Exodus, Lonely Are The Brave.” — from “Naked, Extremely Prolific Writer in Bathtub,” a 9.13 HE post from the Toronto Film Festival.
“I just wish that Roach and screenwriter John McNamara had paid at least some attention to the legendary Gun Crazy (’50), which Trumbo co-wrote under an alias.
“My favorite supporting performances (in this order): Michael Stuhlbarg as Edward G. Robinson (particularly during a scene in which he explains to Trumbo why he became a friendly HUAC witness), Helen Mirren as the maliciously right-wing Hedda Hopper, John Goodman as schlock producer Frank King, Louis C.K. as Arlen Hird, and David James Elliott delivering a relatively decent impersonation of John Wayne.