|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Production country:||USA 2015|
|Running time:||Approx. 125 min.|
|Rated:||From 6 years|
In the 1940s, Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) is one of Hollywood's most successful screenwriters. Many of his works have become major blockbusters and he seems to be getting closer and closer to his goal of winning an Oscar. But then the mood in the dream factory tilts when Senator McCarthy, with the help of columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and actors like Ronald Reagan and John Wayne, starts hunting down supposed communists. When Trumbo refuses to testify before McCarthy's Committee on Un-American Activities, he ends up blacklisted along with several of his colleagues and loses his lucrative studio contract as a result. But Trumbo refuses to let the witch hunt stop him from writing. Under a pseudonym he writes more screenplays, among which are some of his best works so far. When one of these books wins an Oscar and the ever-popular Kirk Douglas approaches him to write the screenplay for Spartacus, the time seems ripe to step out of the shadows of anonymity again and launch a counterattack.
Trumbo is based on the true story of the great screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and his struggle against the McCarthy regime. Director Jay Roach, formerly known primarily for hit comedies like the Austin Powers films or My Bride, Her Father and Me, has brought this almost forgotten part of Hollywood history to life with a great cast and a good mix of drama and humor. He succeeds very well in tracing the general atmosphere that prevailed in Hollywood from 1947 onwards. Especially with the actor Edward G. Robinson, portrayed by Michael Stuhlbarg, it becomes well clear how much the pressure of the investigation commission drove people to betray their loyalty to protect their own skin.
At the same time, there were also people like the producer Frank King - wonderfully played by John Goodman - who still wanted one thing first and foremost: Make money! Whether the screenwriter was a communist or not didn't matter to them, as long as they delivered and brought money into the studio's coffers. The resulting discrepancy between hustling and the continuing machinery of the dream factory is the basis for this truly gripping story that is extremely involving, especially for film buffs.
Bryan Cranston leads the great ensemble of actors. The Breaking Bad star delivers a truly haunting performance as the stubborn and somewhat self-absorbed screenwriter that carries the film through its more drawn-out moments. But the rest of the cast also ensure that the film is a treat from an acting perspective alone. The biggest surprise might be Louis CK (Blue Jasmin), primarily known as a comedian, who is not only convincing with clever wordplay, but also in more dramatic moments all along the line.
In the second half, the film degrades a bit in dramaturgical terms, going down too conventional paths that it treads too slowly. This doesn't make it a remotely bad film by any means. But the initially high entertainment value is weakened a bit by the fact that the production drags noticeably. And that's just a bit of a shame given the intriguing story and great actors. Overall, however, Jay Roach has succeeded in creating a gripping look at a dark chapter in the history of Hollywood, which can entertain not only film lovers. And for this there is then also a clear: Worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp