This excellent biographical tale directed by Jay Roach and written by John McNamara (based on the biography Dalton Trumbo by Bruce Cook) details the period in Hollywood after the Second World War when the fear of Soviet Russia and the Communist party rocked our nation to its core. It tells the story of very successful screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, an avowed Communist but nevertheless a good American citizen and his being blacklisted when he refused to divulge names of fellow Communists in the entertainment industry. Feeling that his first amendment rights were being violated and certain that the liberal Supreme Court would overturn any convictions that might be had, caused him and others to defy the subpoena committee and not cooperate. However the death of a Liberal justice and his replacement by a Conservative one forced him to serve a prison sentence of a couple of years. When he got out of prison he started a system of writing using fronts (namely writers who were not blacklisted) to sell his scripts and continue to make a living of sorts. However when he won an Oscar for the script of ROMAN HOLIDAY he could not acknowledge that he had written it and thus when he won again for THE BRAVE ONE a few years later. This film beautifully captures the paranoia of the time and how ruthless and awful people could be in Hollywood to preserve their careers at all costs. It should be pointed out that the film has Edward G. Robinson naming names before the House Un- American Activities committee, which I understand he never did. This was a piece of dramatic license taken by the filmmakers to heighten the storyline, but should have been avoided for it lends a falsehood to an otherwise magnificent piece of filmmaking. Excellent performances by Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo could very well win him the Academy Award as Best Actor, along with Helen Mirren as the villainous Hedda Hopper, Diane Lane as Cleo Trumbo, and tremendous support from John Goodman, Louis C.K., Elle Fanning, and Michael Stuhlbarg as Edward G. Robinson.
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