Search

Review: J Edgar

08:56 23 January 2012

J Edgar

J Edgar

Archant

Clint Eastwood’s biopic of FBI boss J Edgar Hoover pads earnestly and quietly through a turbulent tale that encompasses the greater part of 20th century.

The script by Dustin Lance Black (Milk) works that most tired of biopic conventions, the subject at the end of their life dictating a memoir, but from that crafts a multi-strand mosaic that flips back and forth between various ongoing tales from numerous points in his life.

Being handed the role of repressed bisexual cross dressing law enforcement officer would normally be a green light to grandstand, but DiCaprio holds himself in.

Placed in the centre of a Scorsese barrage of light and sound he can often seem a bit lacking, but he’s right at home in Eastwood’s low key vision.

Of the three central performers – Naomi Watts as Hoover’s loyal secretary Helen Gandy and Armie Hammer as his partner and presumed lover Clyde Tolson – who have to appear throughout the entire 53 years of the film’s timeline, DiCaprio fares the best with the aging prosthetics.

Frustratingly, Hoover did a remarkable job of taking his secrets with him to the grave.

Nobody quite knows what dirt he had on everybody else, or quite what dirt he was hiding about himself. Such a void makes him an empty canvas for artists to paint their own obsessions onto but this film opts for studied neutrality.

Given the trashing Hoover’s reputation has taken after his death, such an approach makes for a comparative sympathetic portrait; you get his side of the story.

However, viewers hoping for some kind of point will wait in vain. The film has more false endings than Return of the King. It keeps going in the hope of alighting on some culminating image but doesn’t find it. It knows that this man’s life says something important about America, but it doesn’t know what it is.

J.EDGAR (15)

Director: Clint Eastwood.

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Josh Lucas and Stephen Root.

Length: 137 mins.

***

0 comments

Other North Norfolk events

16:51
Sisters Chloe (left) and Paris Chandler. Picture: SUBMITTED

Two sisters are playing love rivals in a youth musical telling the story of one of the 20th century’s most influential and tragic women.

Friday, February 5, 2016
Ian Waite and Camilla Dallerup from BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. Picture: SUBMITTED

For one night only, Cromer Pier’s Pavilion Theatre is inviting dance fans to join Ian Waite and Camilla Dallerup from the BBC’s hit show Strictly Come Dancing.

Friday, February 5, 2016
The Good Witches of Oz. Left:  Glinda, the Good Witch of the South (Abi Wills) and the Good Witch of the North (Emily Bower).

The whirlwind adventures of young Dorothy Gale are coming to Aylsham this month, as the Aylsham Players present their production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Thursday, February 4, 2016
Alad In Overstrand

It’s pantomime time in one village as a classic tale is set to help raise money for charity.

Most Read

Most Commented

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 0°C

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Norfolk News e-edition today E-edition