As an anti-communist wave spread across the country, with fears of it being dispersed by red agents of Tinsel Town, screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) and the other members of the Hollywood Ten were called in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, found guilty of contempt of Congress, jailed, and blacklisted. Defiant in the face of injustice, Trumbo continued to work, polishing off B-picture scripts while anonymously penning screenplays for classics such as Roman Holiday, Spartacus, and The Brave One. Jay Roach's Trumbo is the type of rambling, sanctimonious Hollywood prattle where the audience is supposed to ooh and ahh at the Hollywood legends (John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Otto Preminger) being portrayed on screen by miscast or third rate actors while the filmmakers hope they ignore the total incoherent mess being presented to them. Cranston's performance is credible though one-dimensional and the film never even bothers to provide background or attempt to get inside the character's head or explore his genius. As written by John McNamara from a book by Bruce Cook, Trumbo is the kind of senses dulling drivel its subject wouldn't even think twice of assigning his name to.
* 1/2 out of ****