When I attended the Hollywood premiere of “J. Edgar,” I wondered to myself, would Leo DiCaprio get another Oscar nomination, and whether he impressed other moviegoers as much as he did me? I also thought that Eastwood did a great job, but not the best work of his career directing this flick about the American FBI chief, who was often accused of running the FBI like his very own mafia ring. Well, Highlight Hollywood’s movie expert, attorney and Hollywood historian Barry Rubin saw the film, and this is what Mr. Rubin thought about it.
“J. Edgar” is, as you might expect, the story of J. Edgar Hoover, at one time one of if not the most powerful man in the nation as he formed and led the Federal Bureau of Investigation for at least 48 years. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the world’s most famous G Man and Armie Hammer plays his faithful confidant and friend, Clyde Tolson while Naomi Watts portrays the role of Helen Gandy, J. Edgar’s ever loyal secretary and girl Friday.
The film was written by Dustin Lance Black and produced and directed by Clint Eastwood,. Although interesting from the point of view of the history of the nation’s most famous crime fighting organization, I’m sorry to say that the film was much too long. Instead of shortening Hoover’s name in the title of the film, the editors should have deleted a lot of unnecessary footage as the movie struggles to find itself and its proper pace. In this case FBI could stand “For Boring Individuals”.
Even good things should end in a timely manner. This is not the Clint Eastwood we came to know in “The Unforgiven” or his other great films. It was almost as if pride of directorship and artistic endeavor overrode the necessity to make the film work in a tighter vehicle. Perhaps trying to cover such a complicated character over so long a period makes the extraordinary length of the film inevitable but not necessarily pleasant to watch. I give the film 2 and 1/2 stars with the suggestion that a good cup of strong coffee prior to viewing it would be a good idea.
Written By: Barry Rubin, Highlight Hollywood’s film reviewer
Photograph Courtesy: Bobby Head/Link 81 Collection
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