Friday, November 25, 2011
J. Edgar Review.
While watching J Edgar, I could not help but be reminded of The Godfather Part II. In the latter film we watch as Michael leads the family business, interjected with past vignettes of his father's rise to power. I think Clint Eastwood was going for a similar effect in J Edgar; trying to build up the character and personality that was J Edgar Hoover through flashbacks and narrative.
Unfortunately it did not work. It was hard to find a cohesive plot between the back-and-forth from the 1970s to the 50s to the 60s to the 20s and back to the 30s. While there was certainly a point to be made about Hoover's lying and exaggerations, without a steadily rising plot the climax fell flat. As did some of the character development, such as Gandy's flurried introduction and the not-so-subtle allusions to Tolson's sexuality ("His record shows... he shows no interest in women.")
But the acting was great. Where Leonardo wearing women's clothing could have been quite laughable, it came off as serious and sad. Overall DiCaprio's Hoover came off as more socially awkward and insecure than power hungry, which diminished how awestruck we should have been thinking how someone like Hoover could have served in the government. And there was a nice selection of events from the book in the film, though some events such as Dillinger's murder went unexplained despite constant references. Overall, C+.