Friday, 24 February 2012

J. Edgar [2011]

J. Edgar Hoover was one of the most powerful, controversial and complex figures of the 20th century – the kind of personality that filmmakers find extremely tempting. Yet, ironically, those very traits also make their biopics an inherently risky proposition as either the directors tend to get lost in the details or they try to cover too wide a ground in the limited timeframe. Clint Eastwood, in this sweeping epic on the life and times of the first Director of FBI who, through his shrewd and often despicable tactics, enjoyed an unprecedented stint under a number of Presidents, touched base on numerous aspects of Hoover’s life, including a number of skeletons in his closet – his rise in power within the government, the formation and growth of the FBI, his bringing in of scientific forensic studies for evidence gathering, and the kidnapping of Lindbergh’s baby that proved to be a watershed moment for the Agency; as also, Hoover’s uptight and often hypocritical behavior that mostly stemmed from his personal insecurities, relationship with his domineering mother (played by Judi Dench), his long-standing homosexual tryst with his loyal subordinate (Armie Hammer) and his platonic acquaintance with his secretary (Naomi Watts), and of course, his bullying stratagems and his self-delusional nature. By focusing on so many facets, the end product turned out to be a tad insipid and uninvolving too, except for the well-made first-third of the film. Further, the makeups of the protagonists after they’ve aged were so poor as to appear comical. The major saving grace for the movie turned out to be Leonardo DiCaprio’s excellent performance and also few of the key subplots.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre: Drama/Biopic/Political Drama/Historical Drama
Language: English
Country: US

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