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Nicholson gives a standout performance
on February 1, 2007
Jack Nicholson's Hoffa is a Nicholson/Hoffa hybrid that plays very well on screen, though I don't know how much like the real man he really is. I've only seen brief news clips (including the extras in the special features section of the DVD). But Nicholson gives a moving and memorable performance as Jimmy Hoffa. The rest of the cast (a young John C. Reilly included) also give great performances.
I knew nothing about Jimmy Hoffa before this movie, so the nature of the film played well to me, giving an arc of events portraying Jimmy Hoffa's rise to President of the Teamsters from a young man concerned with union rights. It also dramatically covers his involvement with gangsters, the law, and Robert Kennedy.
Although Hoffa plays out like a sweeping epic (it IS 2 hours and 20 minutes long after all), there's something missing in its grandeur, and I really think it's as simple as an experienced director. Not that Danny DeVito does a bad job with the film and the actors, it's just every now and then something seems to miss the mark. A lot of the scenes look like they take place in obvious studios, which draws the audience away, and some of the scenes with bigger crowds lack that extra touch of humanity that needs to be given to remind the viewer of the individuals involved in the crowd.
Overall, though, the acting carries the movie through to the end, though, from what I've read, the ending is entirely fictionalized, which is a bit strange considering that it's somewhat of a biopic and not just a fictionalized account of a real man's life.