J. Edgar Film Review
IMDB Score: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 41%/100%
Directed by: Dustin Lance Black
High hopes and Leonardo DiCaprio made J. Edgar seem like a sure thing but the audience was left hanging as the film read more like a textbook than a blockbuster.
The film was directed by Clint Eastwood and with the recent run of success that he has had evolving his acting career into behind the camera work coupled with DiCaprio’s rise to the top ranks of the a-list this film looked to be a no doubter.
Unfortunately intrigue and context seemed to be lost in translation.
In the early onset of the film all seemed to be as expected. A grey tone and realistic style of filmmaking enhanced DiCaprio’s narration of J.Edgar Hoover’s early years and rise through the ranks of the FBI.
Soon however this act became tired as the film failed to back up the historical timeline with any sort of action or deep analysis of the true magnitude that J.Edgar had on the time period. Apart from the frustratingly slow plot development the filmmakers also failed to emphasize the intensity of the protagonist’s anxiety and fears, whether the aim was subtlety or they simply overlooked the need for more elaboration the film fell short of doing DiCaprio’s portrayal justice.
I wouldn’t argue that the film was poorly acted or that it was cast ineffectively but the end product left the viewer wanting more.
Instead of focusing on the mental strains that were placed on J.Edgar by his job, his closet homosexual tendencies, or the desire to be a revered comic book like figure in the eyes of the country the film seemed to gloss over the most intriguing aspects of the narrative.
The film still could’ve have been worth watching if they would’ve focused on J. Edgar’s crime fighting career, which was extensive and intriguing. However because Eastwood straddled the fence between a biographical snapshot of Hoover’s internal struggle and the seemingly downplayed depiction of his more notable achievements as the head executive of the FBI, they succeeded in doing neither.
Early on the film all of the points of interest were laid out in a bland and casual manner that made the rest of the film longwinded and repetitive. It was clear within the first half hour of the film the J. Edgar was socially awkward, possibly homosexual, not particularly well respected by his peers, and despite that was a very effective crime fighter.
Due to the fact that the filmmakers didn’t seem to elaborate on any of these issues in an interesting manner nor did they give adequate context to make J. Edgar’s internal struggle compelling I was frequently checking my phone at about the hour mark to see when the film was going to finally draw to a close.
Whether Eastwood took and exhilarating glimpse at a conflicted public figure and mishandled it or the story was not a particularly interesting one to begin with this film was one of the least engaging I have seen in quite some time.
Take your money and go see Immortals.