Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Friday, 11 November 2011 01:00

'J. Edgar' plods through Hoover's clandestine life

www.story.com.ua www.story.com.ua
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

  • Director: Clint Eastwood
  • Dates: Opens November 11, 2011

Director Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar takes on the portrayal of that famous, if not infamous, F.B.I. director from its beginnings as the Bureau of Investigation in 1935 until Hoover's death. A fine director of Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, and Flags of Our Fathers, among other outstanding films, unfortunately Eastwood fails here to energize a largely sedentary Hoover.

The flashback structure and the monotone voiceover narration combine with many darkly lit scenes to make for a plodding, unexciting film that episodically traces Hoover's life from 1919 through 1972. The best scene is the first one, the bombing of attorney general A. Mitchell Palmer's home, because of the impact it has on a young Hoover. But a man with a desk job doesn't provide thrills, though the film's classic movie clips and archival news footage are nicely integrated. In addition, the meticulously constructed office sets create a strong sense of place.

While Eastwood wisely doesn't sensationalize or exploit rumors of Hoover's cross dressing and homosexuality, the film is thoughtful to a fault, lacking in suspense. For example, Hoover rails against Martin Luther King, Jr. receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and surreptitiously sends a letter meant to intimidate King into declining. After King does accept the Prize shown on television, J. Edgar just turns off the TV—poof, tension dissipated. We move on.

Notably, J. Edgar has more than a few parallels to Citizen Kane. There's an egomaniac at its center fixated obsessively on his stern mother, one very present for Hoover. There's an adamant refusal to accept criticism plus a warped moral compass. The plot structure also resonates with similarities, especially the scene when Hoover moves into his office. The blocking of the scene with the movers twice walking through and interrupting Hoover's conversation mirrors Kane moving into his newspaper office.

Of course, the flashback route to explore a major figure is familiar. In the case of Hoover, several agents listen to and record Hoover's recollections providing the viewer a nicely ironic distance. Credit goes to Leonardo DiCaprio who captures Hoover's subtle changes over decades, even under heavy makeup. Credit also the always-amazing Judi Dench as the mother, Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson, Hoover's devoted friend, and Naomi Watts as the faithful secretary. So J. Edgar is a mixed bag with meritorious and disappointing elements. At area theaters.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends

May
Thursday
28

KDHX Discovery Series: Soul-Jazz and its Resurgence with Andy Coco

This multimedia session led by KDHX DJ Andy Coco of The Rhythm Section, explores the invention of the soul-jazz genre, its influence, and its contemporary resurgence. With live music from The Provels.   The Discovery...


May
Saturday
30

Brunch at the Stage: The Ozark Highballers

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


May
Saturday
30

Official Pride St. Louis Kick Off Party

Please be our guest for this event at the only Official Pride St Louis Kick Off Party. Enjoy a complimentary bar featuring Pinnacle Vodka, Cruzan Rum, Sauza Tequlia, Jagermeister and Jagermeister Spice, Red Bull, select beers from...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

3 users and 12982 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 essay writing service Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook