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Trumbo Review: Superb Cranston, uneven film

Bryan Cranston is so very exceptional in this domestic and familial drama that showcases brilliant performances from Cranston, Louis CK, Elle Fanning and Michael Stuhlbarg but still feels flimsy and empty at its core.

Trumbo follows the blacklisting and persecution of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo at the height of the Cold War and the toll it took on Hollywood and his family.

Direction/Writing – C

Whilst one can rave and exclaim at how great the performances of this film were, one cannot look past the normality and typicality of this production. The writers and director do nothing to elevate Trumbo from being simply good to being something as great and iconic as the late Dalton Trumbo’s seminal works.

Acting – A-

Nevertheless, the performances are more than sufficient enough to hold you to each pixel on the screen. Cranston exhausts every fibre of his being in the performance, from his eyebrows to his man boobs, his swirly moustache to his gravelly voice and his wrinkled face to his hunched back. Cranston is utterly devastating and totally emotional in the titular role.

Having said that, Louis CK and Michael Stuhlbarg steal the show as Arlen Hird and Edward G. Robertson. Although, why the filmmakers felt the need to cram in a fictional character like Hird into this biopic is beyond me. Regardless, Stuhlbarg is typically fantastic and scene stealing in every single scene whilst Louis CK is sombre and sullen with his wisecracking everyman.

Trumbo is a serviceable biopic that truly showcases the performances in and around its leading man. Its supporting performers are truly special but in truth Cranston is superb.

Score – B

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