He ruled the Federal Bureau of Investigation for decades, nosing around in the private lives of his enemies and friends. Leonardo DiCaprio stars in a Clint Eastwood directed film about the secret life of one of the most powerful men in the United States in the last century in, J. Edgar.
The film focuses on those closest to J. Edgar Hoover; His mother Annie Hoover (Judi Dench); his secretary, Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts); and FBI associate director and Hoover companion Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer).
DiCaprio as an aging Hoover was a stretch at times. I had a hard time buying the 37 year old DiCaprio as the old J. Edgar. That aside, the movie does a great job of revealing the top cop’s obsession with commies and radicals. J. Edgar Hoover popularized fingerprinting, thus leading the way for the CSI folks of today. Director Clint Eastwood points out though, Hoover never missed an opportunity to pat himself on the back. Always searching for the spotlight, while having many secrets of his own.
The best thing about this film is the relationship that revolved between Hoover and his longtime companion Clyde Tolson. Their relationship has historically never been really clear. The film’s version sticks with the fact. The two were never married, worked side by side for decades, and never missed a meal together…and don’t you miss this movie. It will certainly be an Oscar contender on so many levels. DiCaprio…oscar ? Don’t know about that.
The Flick-o-Meter gives J.Edgar four out of five. Solid film about troubled man with too much power. J. Edgar Hoover was a complex guy, full of contradictions. Was he a good guy or a bad guy ? Eastwood is remarkably neutral on this but I don’t know how its going to play out with the viewing audience.
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