J. Edgar (2011)

Greg Says: A thoughtful, respectful, if not disjointed account of a complex man.

Title: J. Edgar (2011)
Rating: 7/10
Date: 4 December 2011
Recommendation: “Wait for the instant download”
Helpful: 0 out of 4 found this helpful.

J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio, “Titanic”) was a complex character. He was paranoid, homophobic and a reported cross-dresser. In many ways a contradiction to his position as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In this Clint Eastwood directed film, we learn about Hoover through his exposition of personal files dictated to young agents over the years. It’s an interesting story device. But Eastwood chose to tell the story in non-linear time. We jump from event to event not chronologically but thematically.

We see Hoover’s relationship with his domineering mother, his awkward ways with women, his flirting with man-on-man love, and his long-term relationship with Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer, “The Social Network”).

DiCaprio did a wonderful job playing Hoover through his different ages and phases. He was able to melt away his own persona and show us Hoover as a leader, a son, a man, and a black mailer. The makeup for him was perfect, not so for Hammer who looked very strange as an old man. DiCaprio will likely receive an Oscar nod for his performance.

The time-shifting in this movie confused me. I wasn’t always aware of where I was in the time stream and I occasionally got lost as to the point that was to be made. So, for an interesting story of a complex man told with a jarring incongruous time sequence, I recommend you “wait for the instant download.”