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29 January 2012

J. Edgar Movie Review: Leonardo DiCaprio plays convincing role

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This is the biopic of J. Edgar Hoover, the founding director of the FBI.

Clint Eastwood's 32nd film as director has been scripted by gay writer Dustin Lance Black (Milk). Black demonstrates the romantic nature of the bond between Hoover and Tolson, but doesn't actually show any physical side to the attachment other than the odd holding of hands and the like well out of public view.

The flick has a strong them of Hoover's obsessive service to the bureau, encouraged by his loving but strict mother Anna Marie (Judi Dench).

Known for his rather megalomaniacal pursuit of what he perceived to be "threats to common decency", Hoover was a hardliner, and darn proud of it.

Leonardo DiCaprio is brilliant in acting here, and shows further depth in his diverse career.

The film's narrative structure takes a bit of getting used to, but it effective.

All entry and exit points are guarded by Hoover throughout J. Edgar, key events are tied together by scenes of the elderly Hoover dictating his memoirs to a range of personal assistants - all which seem to know the tactics that their boss uses to maintain his power in the world of politics and law.

We learn that Hoover is not unbiased in his narrations. Just as Hoover cemented his career on finding out what others had to hide, there were a few indiscretions he needed to hide from public view himself.

Hoover publicly placed homosexuals closely behind communists as "enemies of the state", the true nature of his close personal relationship with long-time second-in-command Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) was let's say, platonically gay.

During Hoover's four-decade reign as America's self-appointed moral guardian he hid his union with Tolson, knowing that the public or the fraternity wouldn't accept it.

In an almost evil genius tactic, Hoover personally maintained detailed files on everyone he did not like, as well as anyone who did not like him. It was a huge file.

None of the serving US presidents was able to bury Hoover, since he had dirt on all of them too.
Hoover was so good at covering his tracks that those files disappeared within hours of his death.

Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk) do a great job at telling this story and both Leo as well as fans of political power themed movies will love it.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, Judi Dench

Websites

J. Edgar official website

Leonardo DiCaprio official website

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