J. Edgar (USA, 2011)

Directed by: Clint Eastwood. This is an interesting movie for such a boring movie. It’s interesting as a whole—a biopic of Hoover, one of the most controversial and influential figures in American history. He was certainly an interesting character, and God knows Hollywood loves a dysfunctional, idiosyncratic, overwhelmingly unlikable yet still somehow sympathetic non-hero. But why now? Certainly up until recently, the notion of doing a “biography” film of this towering figure of American law enforcement that gives credence to the rumours of Hoover’s latent homosexuality and hidden transvestism would have been met with a tidal wave of opposition. Today, apparently, the staunch Conservative defenders of this upright American hero are busy with other matters. But, as interesting as it is to watch this film balance the political divide of its prospective audience, ultimately, it’s a film with a lot of repeated scenes—talking in Hoover’s office, talking in restaurants, more talking in Hoover’s office, etc. Even though the content is pretty interesting—they’re talking about the formation of the modern American political landscape as we know it—it still feels like a boring film. I’m not sure if there’s anything Clint could have done about that. He gives us some gangster gunplay, a high-stakes kidnapping, a weird Oedipal mother relationship, a restrained homosexual romance, and presidential blackmail. And yet…a bit of a snooze fest. One thing I felt very strongly against is the film’s use of “old” makeup. Leo’s face mask as Old Hoover isn’t too terribly bad, but the young, dashing Armie  Hammer (the twins from The Social Network) is too young and dashing not to look like a goofy Halloween mask in his old man getup. It requires a suspension of disbelief, but I couldn’t do it. That being said, go watch this movie. It’s really interesting, just…kind of boring.

2 responses to “J. Edgar (USA, 2011)

  1. Pingback: Remember (Canada, 2015) | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Hands of Stone (USA, 2016) | Offhand Reviews·

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