Review: J. Edgar

Whenever you watch a film, at home or at the cinema, you expect to be entertained. It does not matter what type of film it is, the end result of any good film should be that it kept you entertained for around two hours and kept you in your seat until the end.

This film centres on the eponymous J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio), his rise to Director of the FBI and maintaining and increasing the power of the bureau. The film also centres on Edgar’s relationship with his mother (Judi Dench), his secretary Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts) and his closet homosexual relationship with Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) as the film shifts between Edgar’s formative years and his later years of power.

DiCaprio puts in a splendid performance as Edgar throughout the film, with the make-up department doing wonders in ageing DiCaprio to look like the tiring and potbellied Edgar of the 1960s and 1970s. However, it probably will not be remembered when compared to his other roles in his extensive filmography.

While the relationship between Edgar and Miss Gandy is only limited, and althoughWattsputs in a good performance, the relationship between Edgar and his mother and with Tolson is much more interesting to watch, with superb acting by both Dench and Hammer in their respective roles.

Dench’s portrayal as Edgar’s mother is done very naturally, helping one to see her on Edgar’s public and private life. However the much more interesting relationship is that between Edgar and Tolson. Hammer sinks almost effortlessly into his role, with him working alongside DiCaprio brilliantly making their relationship all the more believable.  The closeted homosexuality becomes more evident throughout the film, giving a more humanistic aspect toHooverrather than the cold figure of authority he is supposed to be.

J. Edgar tells a very good biographic story of the life of J. Edgar Hoover which, although not Clint Eastwood’s greatest film when compared to some of his other recent works like Gran Torino or Invictus, it is still a film worth watching to see Eastwood’s take on one of the most powerful men in United States history.

This film, while not one of the greatest films of all time and one that isn’t going to be quoted from for generations to come, is still a good film in its own right and will probably be remembered in conversations that inevitably begin with “Do remember that film with DiCaprio and with thingymy in it?” and “Oh yeah, with whats-her-face in it as well”.

Though it might not be to everyone’s taste, the film certainly keeps you entertained, leaving you with generally positive feelings when the credits roll.

7/10

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