Review: ‘J. Edgar’

Up until a couple of years ago, I really never knew anything about J. Edgar Hoover. When news of him being a possible cross-dresser and gay man, I became interested.

I’m fascinated by contradictions in people, and Hoovers public and private life were just that. The fact that he was keeping files on (and at times, threatening to expose) politicians and entertainers for doing the very same indiscretions he was doing makes him ripe for exploration.

Unfortunately, with Clint Eastwood‘s J. Edgar, this muddled film never really goes deeper than surface level.

Don’t get me wrong, I think you should see it. But only for one reason: Leonardo DiCaprio. He was, as usual, fantastic. His performance propels the mostly by the numbers film as he plays Hoover from his early 20’s to his ultimate death in 1972 at the age of  77.

I lay partial blame on screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. I hate to call out someone with the same name as me (we Lance’s have to stick together) but the script is so lacking in any true emotion that when one does finally happen, you want to laugh. The moment I’m talking about is when Armie Hammer‘s Clyde Tolson lashes out at Hoover for going out on a date with a woman when he thought the two had an ‘understanding’. It’s sudden and loud and the two fight and break things but you just want to chuckle because the scene is so ridiculous. The script seems to hit on the supposed greatest hits of Hoover’s life but never delves deeper into him as a closeted man who despises himself and tries to make the lives of others miserable.

The other half of the blame lies on Eastwood. His directing is fine but it also seems like it’s just a job for him. There’s no passion on the screen. He doesn’t get you to care for any of the characters and in fact, paints Hoover in a mostly good light. As my Dad told me, “He was an asshole.”

As the characters age, the actors begin to have makeup plied upon their faces. With DiCaprio’s makeup, it’s far less intrusive. He still knocks it out of the park, no matter what age he is in the scene but poor Armie Hammer fares less well. His makeup restricts him so much that you just feel sorry for him anytime he plays the elder Tolson.

I wanted to like J. Edgar so much… no, I wanted to love it but all I got was a boring history lesson.

 

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Linnea-Berthelsen-Stranger-Things.jpg
Linnea Berthelse on Her ‘Stranger Things’ Audition and Keeping Her Role a Secret for a Year
“Sometimes when actors don’t get the part, it’s not always about an actor being a bad actor; it’s about connecting to the material.” – Linnea Berthelsen Stranger Things is back on our screens with its second season, something fans have been waiting for ever since season one arrived on Netflix in 2016. Returning to the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/jonathan-groff-hamilton.jpg
Jonathan Groff on Playing King George III in ‘Hamilton’: “I rehearsed for about a day, and then went into the show”
Can you even imagine stepping into a role in one of the biggest Broadway hits of all time with barely any time to prepare?
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/lina-esco-swat.jpg
Lina Esco on Playing the Only Female Officer on ‘S.W.AT.’: “I have to portray her as someone equal to all of the guys on her team”
"The important thing for me when I read scripts is how much respect I have for the character and how far I can take her" - Lina Esco
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/sam-rockwell-three-billboards.jpg
Sam Rockwell on Typecasting and One of His Worst Auditions
"I’m kind of a workhorse. It takes a toll" - Sam Rockwell
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/rachel-bloom-crazy-ex-girlfriend.jpg
Rachel Bloom: “The way that I learned comedy was not rigid, but this very specific technique taught by the Upright Citizens Brigade”
"I went from being a person who was doing moderately successful videos online and working as a moderately successful TV writer and aspiring to do this to having a Golden Globe." - Rachel Bloom