The Movie: 9/10
If you know me at all, listen to our podcasts, follow me on any social media, you will know my opinion on being free to express that opinion. My motto is “Think for yourself or someone will do it for you.” So, where do you think that puts me on the spectrum of appreciation for Trumbo? You are correct, it made my blood boil, made me sad, made me think, and made my blood boil again. I’m just saying that the idea of someone being persecuted for an idea, for a political view, its monstrous and wrong and any “small” individual story where it plays out in the same way all of human history seems to play out the same theme, it’s deflating. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that the story is bigger than the movie, oh no. This is a high quality, beautifully performed, beautifully filmed film and I give it high praise for all that. I was mesmerized by the characters, lost in their personal slices of this big heart wrenching pie, and the look of the whole thing made that even better. We get a lot of looks back at this time period, our early American 20th century. It is as if those few decades invented war, industrialization, greed, civil rights, or the commercialization of being human….they did not. We have these things as part of being a thinking creature, it is what it is, but the trick to us all focusing on the first 50 years of that century is that we have recorded a lot of it and now we can regurgitate it again and again with art and thought and more art. Regurgitate is not a nice word, but you know what I mean. People and our nation lived through the period of Communist hunting and fear. They lived through the real World War II. They lived through the bigotry and the hatred, the closed mindedness, the fear and more fear. What we do now, in the 21st century, is analyze, pick at it, show it again and again in different ways because we can.
What I might not be saying here is that movies like Trumbo tell a story that needs to be told. There are always individuals who are complex and flawed and who see things in a way that might not be inline with the louder voices. These people cannot be silenced for one reason, without them we have no freedom. Imagine a country where people like Trumbo aren’t just put in prison for contempt in a bogus Congressional hearing, but put to death. Imagine a country where you are not ALLOWED to freely believe what you want, think what you want, without being bullied by neighbors, threatened with your livelihood, your kids ostracized or left penniless because of the prevailing political and religious thinking of the times? This guy, this screen writer with a strange and abrasive attitude, he is not someone I might have been friends with, he is not portrayed as being very likable and I assume that in real live the real man was even more intensely complicated, however, he stood for something that I am grateful for, freedom. In the movie we see his methods mix a certain amount of greed, arrogance, ego, and indignation that propel Hollywood into a place they do not belong, politics. I do agree that movies are powerful in delivering ideas and messages that to some are dangerous…..this is a good thing when done to free people, to help people realize their own potential to matter in this life. I’m not saying that Trumbo put big messages in his movies, but come on, a slave who becomes a king? Yea, let’s just think about that one for a minute.
OK, I just read through my review so far and it’s not much of a review:) This is what the movie has done for me, made me think and think some more. I can’t give a film higher praise than that. I will say, again, it’s acted just right, it looks amazing, and it is entertaining. Diane Lane, oh my goodness, Diane Lane, she’s got me. I want to see more and more of her as we age together, her much more elegantly than me of course. 🙂 Breaking Bad was really really good, he doesn’t usually impress me, but this time I was hooked and look forward to more from him too. As a movie, at it’s best Trumbo elevates the debate about freedom in our great country. At it’s worse is shows us a man who is not a hero, he is damaged, selfish, difficult…..and yet he stands for something and I appreciate it.
- Who Is Trumbo? (4 Minutes) – EPK style featurette which is essentially a trailer with interviews cut into it.
- Bryan Cranston Becomes Trumbo (2 Minutes) – very similar to Who Is Trumbo? but with more Bryan Cranston.
- UV Digital Copy
Cover Art: 5/10
This is not an interesting cover. It does hearken back to older days of cinema, but it does nothing for me. I would have a poster of the front page of a script written by Trumbo, but with the fake name on it..yea, that would be a good cover and a good poster.
Audio & Video: 8/10
Trumbo comes home courtesy of Universal’s 1080P AVC encoded BD50 disc. Unlike Trumbo who was put on a black list this disc is way to good for that. Trumbo uses a natural looking pallete and looks crisp and natural for its entire run-time. There is a scene during the movie where the aspect ratio and color changes and on this disc it looks amazing, you will know it when you see it. Blacks are inky and skin tones are very natural. I saw no evidence of banding or blocking during the presentation. This is a top shelf disc from the folks over at universal.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Lossless track used here is also above and beyond what this type of movie usually has to deal with. Surround sound is used to great effect with courtrooms coming alive as you enter them. The movie contains a few clips from old movies that have the appropriate scratch and tinny sound that they did back then. This is a compelling listen and a great way to hear this important movie.
Overall Score 9/10