J. Edgar (Movie-Only Edition + UltraViolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]
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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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Top Customer Reviews
The contents of Hoover’s “personal” and “confidential” papers will never be known. Only a few clues from misfiled documents have surfaced.
Clyde Tolson inherited Hoover’s estate, moved into his house, and accepted the U.S. flag draped over Hoover’s coffin.
Clyde Tolson is buried a few yards away from Hoover’s grave in the Congressional Cemetary.
This movie shows the personal side of Hoover. The movie spares any naked scenes between J Edgar Hoover and his long-time confidante Clyde Tolson; the closest is reveals is a fight scene at 1:34 hours and a few hand-holding seconds. For the remainder of the movie the focus is on Hoover's quirky obsessions with Martin Luther King Jr, the Kennedys, and the personal relationship between Hoover and Tolson that seemed to crumble in its later years. It also shows how Hoover often falsified or exaggerated reports to make him seem like the nation's perfect crime fighter when in fact others did that job for him.
The acting is fine by all the starring casts. DiCaprio does an outstanding job and so does Naomi Watts as his personal secretary Helen Gandy. Armie Hammer rounds out the main characters as Clyde Tolson.
What I did find distracting is the director's constant going back and forth between the young and the old Hoover. Director Clint Eastwood also seems to have a preference of using side lighting that makes the other half of a person's face disappear into deep shadows, something he also used in "Million Dollar Baby," with piano music accompanying the somber scenes.
The movie flows at times as if Hoover is dictating his life to his personally-appointed biographer. The make-up on "Tolson" also makes him look like a corpse, whereas Hoover himself is aged well.
There is emphasis on the botched Lindbergh kidnapping case, obsession with the Roosevelts (both Franklin and Eleanor) and later MLK. Not enough was devoted to Hoover's dealings with the mafia of the 1930s, and nothing is mentioned about the FBI files of Vietnam War protesters.
So, watch this with the above caveats. This movie shows more of the personal side of Hoover and touches only on the many bizarre and above-the-law tactics Hoover employed to gather information on anyone he seemed treasonous against America. Presidents both feared and admired him, and that is evident in the alleged quote Nixon said upon learning of Hoover's death, a quote I can't post here because Amazon will refuse to post my review.
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