Although I was a bit behind in getting the chance to see J. Edgar, I knew it was one of the films that I wasn’t going to miss. Frankly, I wanted to see the film simply to see Leonardo DiCaprio. Where J. Edgar as a film falls short, DiCaprio surpasses all expectations.
From the second the film started to roll, it was clear that Director/Producer Clint Eastwood gave the reins to DiCaprio and told him to run with it.
The singular bright spot in J. Edgar was DiCaprio’s depiction of Hoover. He flat-out kills the role. I found myself completely believing the fact that he was J. Edgar Hoover. His mannerisms between him and his mother specifically struck a chord with me. He plays the role of prominent man to the world, but in front of his mother he has some pretty substantial flaws.
History Is Served
I don’t want you to get the impression that the film was lacking in depth, because that was certainly not the case. J. Edgar is up to it’s own eyes in history. Eastwood takes very careful steps to ensure that many of the major points of Hoover’s career are covered and explained to the audience. As someone who is really into that time period in American history, I really appreciated this.
You would think that with Oscar-worthy acting from DiCaprio and a healthy serving of history that J. Edgar would be a pure winner. Well, unfortunately, it’s not quite there. Although there are a lot of things that J. Edgar did right, it did have it’s flaws.
To being with, there was times when it was just a bit boring. I personally believe this is because there was too much information that Eastwood was trying to deliver in the time frame allotted. The movie was not short by any means, but when you are chronicling the life of such an influential man it has to be difficult to fit in all the details.
Another flaw was the method of story telling that Eastwood chose. Initially I loved how it went back and forth from the past to the present, but after a while it become convoluted. There were scenes where Hoover was flashing back, but it didn’t really have too much to do with what was happening in the present. It could have been an effective way to tell the story, but the execution was just a little too sloppy for my liking.
The Bottom Line
I would completely recommend that you go and see J. Edgar. Although I did not completely love the film as a whole, Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of J. Edgar Hoover was extraordinary. There were certainly times when it was hard to follow or stay completely engaged but this is absolutely overshadowed by DiCaprio’s performance. In fact, it is too bad that the film has so many shortcomings because DiCaprio would be looking at an Oscar nod otherwise.