Biography, Crime, Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, Judi Dench, Dermot Mulroney, Damon Herriman, Jeffrey Donovan, Ed Westwick, Zach Grenier, Ken Howard, Stephen Root, Denis O'Hare, Geoff Pierson, ea Thompson, Christopher Shyer, Miles Fisher, Jessica Hecht, Michael O'Neill
Near the end of his career, director of FBI J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) looks back on his professional and personal life.
One of the many things a director is supposed to do is take a story, whether Interesting or not, and turn/adapt it into an interesting and engaging Film. With J. Edgar, Clint Eastwood didn't manage to do that. He actually did the opposite, he turned an interesting story into an unappealing film.
Although biographies aren't my kind of thing - that's why I've been avoiding to watch this film for years -, the life of one of the most powerful men of the United States sure is interesting. It isn't just an FBI agent we are talking about, but it's the personal life of one of the most enigmatic figures of the 20th century. The problem is that Clint Eastwood was able to turn him into the most boring man of the 20th century. The story just doesn't manage to take off, there are too many slow and long shots, and the only reason I did not fall asleep is the narrative structure of the film. The flashbacks, that's why I kept watching.
In addition to Eastwood's poor direction, there's also some truly awful makeup involved - it is so bad it's distracting - and the cinematography by Tom Stern is dull and uninspired.
That said, the film isn't a complete failure because of J. Edgar Hoover's private life, that's where the film gives its best, and it's essentially thank to Leonardo DiCaprio. While he does a very good job portraying an intelligent man who is in control of everything and overpowers everyone, he does an even better, superb I'd say, job portraying a man confused, scared of his sexuality, and controlled by his mother.
The supporting cast does a really good job, especially a brilliant Judi Dench as the mother and a passionate Armie Hammer as Hoover's lover and right-hand man. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about Naomi Watts who is wasted as Hoover's secretary.