J.Edgar (2011)

I was pleasantly surprised by this biopic of John Edgar Hoover (the founder of the FBI’s) life. With Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role and Clint Eastwood in the directors chair.

This is defiantly not Leonardo DiCaprio at his best, his accent is a mixture of Martin Sheen meets Richard Nixon. But this defiantly isn’t Leo at his worst.  However Armie Hammer (The Social Network) really shines in his supporting role as Clyde Tolson. He does an amazing job acting up against Leonardo DiCaprio’s conflicted FBI head as he struggles to try and protect America and handle with his sexuality.

This film is chock full of “what’s his name?’s” and “who’s his face?’s” that pop in and out of the film frequently and shortly. Including Josh Lucas, Dermot Mulroney, Stephen Root, a quick shot of Michael Gladis from Mad Men and an even quicker shot of Frank Tobin form Miss Congeniality. An even more surprising scene with Marty Mcfly’s mum Lea Thompson.

My absaloute biggest problem with this film is how bad the make up is. The film frequently flicks between older Jedgar and younger Jedgar. But the make-up on old Jedgar is terribly made. It’s the type of make-up where you can tell where the fake Leonardo DiCaprio ends and the real begins, quite obviously as well. Plus the more make-up that’s on him the bigger his head becomes. In one of the final scenes as well you can tell that the make-up is restricting Armie Hammers face from completly moving naturally.

Judi Dench is superb as always playing Jedgars mother. However as many people speculate, Jedgar was a transvestite. Whether or not this was true the film does touch on this in one scene. This scene despite being an emotional heart breaking scene, creeped the hell out of me. Soon after the death of his mother he goes into her room and wears one of her dresses. The scene  was just too reminiscent of Norman Bates from Psycho. The scene is so dimly lit and the middle aged Jedgar make-up is just plain scary. Well at least I presume it is middle aged Jedgar. Considering when we are first introduced to Jedgar we are supposed to think he is 24. So who knows the exact age of him through out.

Into the final scenes however Tolson explains to Jedgar how half of the story he’s been telling about his life through out the film have been fabrications of the truth and over exaggerated stories. Which I thought was a really interesting point, if not a quite sad story of old age.

Directing is top notch from Eastwood and some of the editing is marvelous. But much like Margin Call this is another one of those films that pretty much implies the world revolves around America and a lot of the historic refrences are lost on most people. The final message of the film however, appeals to all- To be ready for the future we must learn from the past.

Also there is one particular scene, which is in the trailer, in which Armie Hammer is shouting at Leonardo DiCaprio that he’s an empty shell of a human being, and I swear that Leonardo DiCaprio was shouting the exact same thing at Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road.


An interesting film but hardly the gripping crime drama that perhaps Public Enemies was and almost entirely forgettable. Possibly overlooked rising star award for Armie Hammer as well.

Best line in the film: Probably the least sensitive but the one line that got the most laughs in the whole film- “I’d rather have a dead sun then a daffodil for a son”– Judi Dench


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