Sunday, April 3, 2016

Trumbo - Movie Review

The world is, you would think, generally full of bigots. The moment we have elected into public spaces those who wish to separate, those who cannot even stand ideological differences, those who cannot stand protest or discussion, those who try to force others into one way of thinking - we have trouble. So much of this movie which is based on rabid Amercanisms and pure ideals versus communist theories, is a bit like what's playing out right now. Anyone who has a dissenting view will be called a traitor and there will be enough armchair supporters who will get up and actively lynch these 'traitors' in their understanding. Trumbo is a chilling representative of intolerance and narrow minded governments and what they can do.

Trumbo is a biography, a true story. It's based on the life story of Dalton Trumbo, an American screenwriter and novelist, who was blacklisted and was among the blacklisted Hollywood 10 for refusing to testify at the House Un American Activities Committee (sounds like the 'anti-national' thought we hear these days). Anyway Trumbo is sent to prison for his communist activities and on his return finds no work - every producer is threatened to keep away from the commies. Trumbo however is in financial difficulties and writes scripts which he sells through a front man and shares the money. He later teams up with a small production company which keeps him and his other writer friends in business anonymously. The stuff he writes includes 'Roman Holiday', 'Brave One', 'Spartacus, 'Exodus' and wins the Academy Awards for 'Roman Holiday' and 'Brave One' though uncredited. The blacklist went on from 1947 till about 1960 when Spartacus and Exodus give him credit..

I loved the way Trumbo stands up to John Wayne (in the movie) and asks him - where were you during the war? I was out in the trenches. Were you on a film set? That's the reality. Most people who take of war and soldiers etc do not really do anything much except sit in the comfort and security of their homes and merely instigate one section against another on false notions of patriotism. Every citizen is a patriot - he or she may have different ideas of patriotism. This must be the fundamental idea.

Trumbo is brilliant  as only real life can be. I am so convinced that nothing can beat the drama of real life. The way Trumbo works in his bath tub, the long hours he works, all serve as inspiration. the movie is gripping. A different perspective of that period can be seen in Woody Allen's 'The Front' which talks about this black period in Allen's own way.


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