Yeah, I read Tallerico’s review yesterday, and it’s not far wrong. Cranston (and the rest of the cast, for that matter) is excellent, but I can’t help but feel that McNamara’s script isn’t as great as he himself thinks it is, which is unfortunate (and more noticeable) considering whom he’s writing about.
That said, I still found the movie hugely entertaining, and close enough to the larger truth of the story that I feel it’s really worth watching. And Cranston and Roach deserve a lot of credit for making the movie as good as it is. They both approached the project with humility and a keen interest in getting it right.
Now, the Guardian’s review that @daneel linked to is another story. I won’t quibble with much of what Barnes has to say about the overall quality of the movie, but by the end of the review he begins to come across as somebody who has an all-too-common bone to pick with some monolithic “Hollywood.”
As an exercise in celebrating the bravery of one man holding tight to his fundamental rights, Trumbo is a winning, lively film, likely to go down extremely well with Oscar voters, if only so they can be seen to publicly say how terrible the whole thing was. At the same time, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe gearing up for phase three and Fast and Furious 8 on the grid, it’s an odd moment for the industry to be delivering lectures on risk, courage and nobility. It’s a stretch to compare denying someone their right to free speech with Vin Diesel churning up the road in a sports car of course, but Trumbo does play into Hollywood’s narrative of itself as sophisticated, liberated and pure. Raise a sceptical eyebrow to that one.
I am not sure what any movie about Dalton Trumbo has to do with the MCU or the Fast and Furious movies. Hollywood is a weird town, but it’s been able to deliver both Serious Drama and something like The Three Stooges simultaneously in any given calendar year of the past century. And it’s strange how much he goes on about Hollywood and “the industry” as if Trumbo were a “Hollywood” movie, made in and by Hollywood, by one of the major studios, instead of the low-budget indie flick it is, made about Hollywood, but mostly shot in Louisiana.
I’ll have to ask my mother-in-law if Trumbo really earned a five-minute standing ovation at the Toronto premiere. Wikipedia says it did, but Wikipedia sometimes lies.
Anyway, it currently has an 89% on the old Tomatometer, with nine reviews counted so far.