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J. Edgar [Blu-ray]

417 customer reviews

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Product Description

Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception, Blood Diamond) stars as J. Edgar Hoover, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for nearly 50 years. Hoover was feared, admired, reviled and revered, a man who could distort the truth as easily as he upheld it. His methods were at once ruthless and heroic, with the admiration of the world his most coveted prize. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life. Oscar Winner Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven) directs an all-star cast including Naomi Watts (21 Grams), Armie Hammer (The Social Network) and Oscar Winner Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love) as Hoover’s overprotective mother.

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Expert direction by Clint Eastwood and a tour de force by Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role help make J. Edgar a fascinating, if somewhat less than thoroughly compelling, portrait of one of the most complex and conflicted Americans of the 20th century. Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black's narrative moves freely among various stages of J. Edgar Hoover's life and career, framed by scenes in which the aging FBI director dictates his memoirs to an admiring young agent. Major events include Hoover's crusade against supposed Communists; his involvement in the capture and trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who was convicted of kidnapping and murdering Charles Lindbergh's infant son; the creation of the infamous "confidential" files he kept on his many enemies; his relationship with Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer), Hoover's lifelong friend, companion, and conscience (while Tolson was clearly gay, the much-discussed issue of Hoover's homosexuality is suggested but not explicit); and his vendetta against Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s. The point of view is not entirely unsympathetic, but while it's clear that Hoover was responsible for several crime-fighting innovations, it's equally apparent that this coarse, insecure, socially inept man remained forever under the sway of his overbearing mother (Judi Dench), was only too happy to break the law when it suited him, hectored and scolded others with self-righteous vigor, and lied shamelessly about his own heroic exploits. In view of all that, it's easy to understand why Hoover's legacy is controversial, to say the least.

DiCaprio does a fine job of staying in character (including his East Coast accent), and if his makeup as an older man isn't completely convincing, the dark palette employed by cinematographer Tom Stern throughout the movie (even a daytime scene at a racetrack finds most of the spectators' faces shadowed by their hat brims) makes that much less apparent. As for Eastwood, he has long since established himself as a master of his craft, and although the lengthy J. Edgar has its tedious moments, this is an engaging, admirable film. And while Hoover was almost totally humorless, the movie isn't; it's unlikely that the scene in which Hoover receives the news of John F. Kennedy's assassination while secretly listening to an audiotape of King having illicit sex really happened, but it sure is entertaining. --Sam Graham


Special Features

- J Edgar: The Most Powerful Man in the World

Product Details

  • Actors: Leonardo Dicaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts
  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 21, 2012
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (417 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006OFN0BQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,384 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

186 of 207 people found the following review helpful By Reconnecting To My Childhood on January 7, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
A scene at a clothing store in which John Edgar Hoover is told he has bad credit finds him telling them that they are incorrect, they must be speaking of another John Hoover. They ask if he is indeed John Hoover and he says yes but adds that he signs his name different ways, not usually just plainly as John Hoover but with his middle name or E initial included (his mother did always call him Edgar). The shop owner then tells Hoover to open up a new account and sign it with one name and to go by that name. John takes the application form and writes J. Edgar Hoover.

To me this scene is symbollic of the larger film. J. Edgar Hoover is a film about a man who, like many of us, had many sides and aspects that composed who he was. He was greatly conflicted about which side he should portray publicly and stumbled rather awkwardly in his younger years, illustrated wonderfully in the film, until finally deciding that J. Edgar Hoover was who he was going to be. That was the side he was going to live publicly and the person he was going to be, right or wrong, with full conviction. The rest of the film shows us the consequent problems, struggles and complications that follow from this choice.

I was concerned that this film wouldn't live up to my expectations, others have been rating it rather ordinary and others negatively, few seem really excited about it after having viewed it. In a way I can see where they are coming from. It is a long film with dark moody colors, almost as if Eastwood wanted it to be black and white, and a lot of dialogue that moves quite fast without much regard for helping the audience along or spelling things out.
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71 of 80 people found the following review helpful By A. Ocon FilmLover on January 20, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Clint Eastwood, Dustin Lance Black and Leonardo DiCaprio join forces to understand the 20th century's most admired, hated and controversial man, J. Edgar Hoover (with a tour de force performance by DiCaprio).

Let me first say that when I first heard of this project in the works I virtually knew very little about the F.B.I founder. I had however seen great depictions by actors like Bob Hoskins, Vincent Gardenia, Billy Crudup and more recently by Enrico Colantoni. All good performances without a doubt but only two dimensional portrayals. Here DiCaprio creates a 5th dimensional character that the audience can try to more or less understand.

The film spans nearly 50 years in the history timeline, jumping timeframe by time frame and creating a rich tapestry of political drama and turmoil in our nation's history. DiCaprio plays both the young, ambitious and advanced Hoover as well as the old, embittered czar whom all politicians feared by the 1950's.Armie Hammer plays his protege and second man in the Bureau Clyde Tolson. Hammer is the soul and conscience of the film as well as Hoover's constantly ignored emotions. Judi Dench, Naomi Watts and Jeffrey Donovan turn in great performances as well. The screenplay is rich and meticulously researched and Eastwood's direction has perfected greatly to the point of crafting his most ambitous, and richest project since his excellent "Flags/Letters" duo.

If you enjoy history, historical dramas, this is for you. A thought provoking, psychological insight into this man's soul and heart and the effect he had on this nation's history. One of the most chilling moments in the film happens toward end when a anxiously devastated Hoover witnesses the inaugural of Richard Nixon amd almost forsees the devastation that will befall the U.S.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Baz on February 26, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
There are many novelists who profess that they really don't know how their novel will end when they set out to write it, that the plot develops as they progress. I had to wonder if director Clint Eastwood went through the same process in making "J. Edgar". Of course that's not possible, movie-making doesn't work that way, so perhaps it's just the subtlety of his progression that just made me think that he did.

Sitting down to watch it I knew first that I would hate Hoover. No, more, I really wanted to hate Hoover... historically, what's not to hate, the man was a mono-maniacal paranoid, a narcissistic, closeted, cross-dressing, hypocritical power-abuser, a polluter of all that could have been good in the still relatively young and malleable America of his time. And yes, all that is there in the movie, even down to the cross-dressing. Clint seems go at it dourly and steadfastly to begin with, the young Hoover is as pushy and repellant as you would expect, but as we see more of his character's complexity, told in tandem with his youthful zeal and intractable old-age, it appears like the liberal softy that he (Clint) is just can't go through with it. So gradually it turns the corner and becomes a rather touching gay love-story. So much so that we lose focus somewhat on J. Edgar himself in favor of his long-time companion, Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer), who becomes our surrogate in observing the appalling self-parody that Hoover becomes. Eastwood is so good, drawing you in to the life of a notorious historical villain, setting him up, then almost forgiving him. Yes, there is absolution here. Hoover loved, and was loved in return, by Tolson, who is portrayed as essentially a good guy, and was also loved by his long time secretary, Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts).
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J. Edgar [Blu-ray]
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