Follow by Email

Friday, 19 February 2016

The Current Cinema - The odd sensation watching Walter White play Dalton Trumbo

Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo
There are any number of fascinating ever-explorable currents of cinema. By that I mean something like "the French New Wave" or "Italian neo-realism'. Got me? But the two small currents with the most enduring interest belong to two periods in Hollywood - the so-called 'pre-Code' cinema of the early 30s and the Black list period of the late forties on into the 60s. There's a lot to see but the subjects go on forever and in the case of the blacklist, there are not just the films that were made and the people who made them but the films made about them, from the early and oblique to the present full-fledged biopics like the current Trumbo (Jay Roach, USA, 2015) in which Bryan Cranston plays the writer through a period covering his early pre-war success through to his rehabilitation as a credited scriptwriter on Spartacus (Stanley Kubrick, USA, 1960) and Otto Preminger's interminable Exodus (USA, 1960).

So to Trumbo at the Randwick Ritz at the early evening session, the most popular of the night. Squeezed forward to 6.00 pm to allow for an extra evening session of Deadpool (Tim Miller, USA, 2016) in the biggest cinema of the complex. Whether it was the early start time or not, the crowd had stayed away from Trumbo. A mere handful dotted the 900 or so seats.

Bryan Cranston as Cranston
Had they come to see the story of a writer who went to prison for his principles and eventually beat the system or had some at least come to see Cranston. Since shooting Trumbo in 2015 Cranston has been busy. IMDB lists nine movies and a TV series that he has had involvements with including something from Wes Anderson that is only in pre-production. But before playing Dalton Trumbo, Cranston's credits go all the way back to 1980 when he appeared, uncredited, in a TV movie titled To Race the Wind (Walter Grauman, USA) playing a character designated as 'Quarterback". I'm sure many of you are familiar with it. I dont recall seeing Cranston in any of the dozens of TV shows, movies and so on that are listed. For decades he was another good jobbing actor and that's all. There may be people who do remember him elsewhere, but...

But then there is Breaking Bad - six seasons of Vince Gilligan's amazing imagination (plus that of his team of writers, directors and actors including Cranston, which, according to one of my nephews at least, who may be right, is the greatest piece of television ever. So, when I'm watching Trumbo I'm not watching Bryan Cranston go round for his Oscar nomination, I'm watching sixty hours or so of the brilliant Walter White, chemistry genius and a man who turns out to have a mind that can overcome all adversity and one which ultimately becomes so steeled that no amount of murder and mayhem finally distracts him. Quite possibly my nephew is right.

Cranston as Walter White
Walter White is thus a man of immense talent, not just for making ice but for controlling the market and defeating the even worse guys. He can also play Dalton Trumbo as an affecting, warm, colorful and very principled person who never lost sight of his own self-interest. Remarkable how images and presences affect you.

No comments:

Post a Comment