Film Review: J. Edgar

Clint Eastwood proves his considerable worth once again as director, and in this instance, with the music as well.

In this biopic, Leonardo Di Caprio portrays Mr J. Edgar Hoover to an unnervingly realistic degree and is matched in his skills by the supporting cast.

Judi Dench portrays his mother, Armie Hammer his close friend and colleague, Clyde Tolson and Naomi Watts his trusted secretary, Helen Gandy.

Ms Watt's character bring back the old meaning of that word, in the seventeenth century, a secretary, was quite literally a keeper of secrets.

The script is taut and seamless, the story moves back and forth, past to future and bits in between to tell Mr Hoover's story of the birth of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and of the beginning of forensics being used in criminal investigations.

Not only this, the film also details the life of J. Edgar Hoover. There were many different sides to Mr Hoover, and all come across in Mr Di Caprio's performance. And not only is it his life, it is also his telling of the story and what facts he is willing to disclose or not.

More than anything else, the editing is quite excellent, making turns and backtracks and fast forwards in the sixty year period, all of them seamless and smooth.

Mr Di Caprio was nominated for a few awards, at the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Globes and at the Australian Film Institute. As was Mr Hammer, for his role, a Screen Actors Guild nomination. All are well deserved.


  1. This quote comes from another biopic, chosen because both leaders in both films have flaws.

    “Queen Victoria: I do want to help them, whatever you say. And not just the labouring poor, but the hungry and the homeless, and... There are people who are lost, and whose business is it to see to their welfare?
    Lord Melbourne: Well, in my experience, ma'am, it's best to let these things develop naturally. If you interfere, you risk overturning the cart.
    Queen Victoria: Well, Prince Albert doesn't agree. He's made a study of the working man's condition; he's full to the brim with ideas for their improvement.
    Lord Melbourne: Is he indeed? How inspiring.”


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