Trumbo is a 2015 drama biopic directed by Jay Roach and starring Bryan Cranston. It is so disappointing and uninspired despite its interesting subject matter.
Yes, I find the subject matter quite interesting here. It follows the life of Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and it explores the controversial Hollywood Blacklist. That is interesting and this is one of those movies that are directly targeted at cinephiles as it is about Hollywood and the history of film and the politics in it. The story is important and interesting, but is unfortunately told here in such a straightforward, simplistic manner that I found it to be incredibly boring as well as cliched. There isn’t anything inspired about Trumbo, but there isn’t much fun to be had here as well which is super annoying as it had a lot of potential.
Dalton Trumbo himself is well portrayed here and the character is well developed. But others are not unfortunately with the exception of Arlen who is quite good and Hedda who is also memorable. But his family is boring and underdeveloped and the various classic actors that grace the screen here are pretty forgettable and realized in a weak manner.
But the acting is admittedly very good with Helen Mirren being solid in her role and Elle Fanning also being good. Louis C. K. is fine as well and of course the highlight is Bryan Cranston. He is perfectly fine in Trumbo and I found his performance to be pretty good and even great at times, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call his performance to be one of the best of the year as he certainly wasn’t that great. He is good for sure, but far from great.
The problem with Trumbo is also its somewhat TV-like quality. The cinematography, the imagery, the costumes and the directing are all pretty ordinary and there is nothing here that is particularly cinematic or memorable or great. The score is also weak and the acting is good, but not that great as the characters themselves aren’t that well fleshed out. The script definitely needed some edge and the film needed energy in its execution as it is incredibly boring and slow paced with rare entertaining scenes. The tone is also weird as it tries to be a bit comedic and light at times, but to me fails as it isn’t that funny or charming.
Trumbo is definitely not a bad movie, but it isn’t particularly good either. It is a passable diversion which is frustrating as it had a potential to be so much more, but ended up being a basic biopic. The dialogue is solid, but not inspired. And the film is very interesting to watch at times and even somewhat fun, but is mostly tired and dull unfortunately. Bryan Cranston got a Best Actor nod at the Oscars, but to me did not deserve it as he did not do anything truly remarkable in his performance.
Trumbo is well acted, it has its fun and interesting moments and it has an interesting subject matter, but it is executed poorly with a boring and tired script, forgettable characters and weak technical aspects. It is a dull and forgettable movie that isn’t bad, but isn’t that good either and is a huge disappointment.
My Rating – 3