Of Pinkos & Punchlines

trumbo_official.712d4100743.original

“There were no good guys or bad guys—only victims,” reflects Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) in a tear-streaked speech. Despite this sentiment, Trumbo does have good guys, bad guys, and victims. Trumbo himself is not so much a victim as a pragmatic liberal superhero who says, “The radical may fight with the purity of Jesus. But the rich guy wins with the cunning of Satan.” If there is a devil incarnate in Trumbo, it’s Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren), a Hollywood columnist with tight reigns on the vox populi. An avowed patriot, she wants leftists like Trumbo out of the business, threatening MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer, “Does the moviegoing public need to be reminded that Mayer is really Lazar Meir, born in Minsk? That Samuel Goldwyn was born in Warsaw as Szmuel Gelbfisz?” Mayer succumbs, firing Trumbo, who’s brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee and then jailed. From the quiet but unnecessary score by Theodore Shapiro to the beat-by-beat take on the story, Trumbo is Oscar bait. Louis C.K., John Goodman, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje provide hilarious turns; the movie’s Otto Preminger (Christian Berkel) calls Leon Uris’s Exodus “an almost perfect piece of shit.” In addition to the inside jokes, Trumbo depicts 1950’s Hollywood in detail, clouds of smoke suspended in most scenes. And lying in wait behind that smoke is a cautionary Public Service Announcement about the First Amendment.

By Alec Julian & Carrie White 

Advertisements

One thought on “Of Pinkos & Punchlines

  1. Excellent synopsis. Just enough to make me want to see the film. And subsetedly, makes me wonder if our peer, childhood thinking might have differed, Carrie, growing up east/west ocean’s apart. Cranston must be super.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s