The United States during the 20th century was full of many notable historical figures. One of, if not the most notable figures is J. Edgar Hoover, a man known both for his dedication and loyalty to his job as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as a sneaky little man with basically everyone’s secrets willing to air their dirty laundry at the drop of a hat. Director Clint Eastwood and star Leonardo DiCaprio have teamed up to bring this highly controversial man’s life to audiences with expert detail and dramatic intensity. J. Edgar is now out in a special Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack and if you are curious about this mysterious man’s infamous life, then now is your chance to learn about him in crystal-clear high definition, no less.
An old Hoover narrates his life story to an agent taking dictation. The memoir begins in 1919 when Hoover was a young employee at the Department of Justice. During this time, Hoover’s boss Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer suffered an assassination attempt and while the police were investigating the crime scene, Hoover noticed how sloppy and unprofessional the investigation was going. This was the first moment Hoover realized the importance of criminal science and this realization would eventually lead to a very long career as Director of the FBI.
The film jumps back and forth from Hoover as an old man well situated as the Director of the Bureau to a young man climbing the ranks gaining success and recognition in his role as a crime fighter however some of his arrests were a bit exaggerated such as his involvement in the arrest and killing of bank robber John Dillinger. He was however known for spearheading a thorough investigation of the Lindbergh kidnapping.
Hoover was notorious for his secrecy. He made a career out of finding secrets and scandals and keeping them locked up in his personal files. He had dirt on pretty much everyone from politicians to entertainers. For a while, he was known as the most powerful man in the country and this film definitely sheds some light on why and how he achieved that title. Throughout the entire course of his life, Hoover trusted only a select few people. This select few included his mother (Judi Dench), his secretary Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts) and his deputy and lover Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer). These people cared about Hoover and understood how powerful he was.
Clint Eastwood has directed a truly beautiful film here. The screenplay is wonderful and the acting is top notch. Leonardo DiCaprio is certainly maturing into a world class movie star. J. Edgar is proof that he isn’t a little boy going through Growing Pains or standing on a cruise ship claiming “He’s the king of the world!” He is an actor who chooses his roles wisely and he knows what he’s doing when he is in front of a camera. The supporting cast is also stellar. Armie Hammer who gained acclaim for The Social Network plays Hoover’s lover Clyde Tolson and his performance is tender, sincere and downright lovely. Also to note is the makeup which manages to transform Hoover and his confidantes from youthful to elderly. The makeup work was absolutely well done, genuine and real.
Biopics today are usually dry and boring. J. Edgar is the opposite. It is full of rich detail and brilliant acting. Hoover was known throughout history as a sneaky and dangerous individual. This film humanizes him a bit. You can either choose to hate or approve of the man, your choice. This film will do two great things, it will educate you and it will entertain you, enjoy.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
The bonus features or should I say, bonus feature for J. Edgar is surprising slim. A documentary entitled J. Edgar: The Most Powerful Man in the World is the sole supplement and it is actually pretty riveting.