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

Local Artist Spotlight


Dad Jr: Get Down. Hard.

Sun June 29

Graham Pagano

Mon June 23
Graham Pagano's debut album Quit Complaining is a high charged mix of old and new music. his old blues and classic country feel blended up with a rock and roll attitude makes this stripped down album explode…

KDHX Recommends

July
Saturday
26

Genevieve at Harvest Sessions 2014

Genevieve at Harvest Sessions 2014 Harvest Sessions welcomes Genevieve -- featuring Rebecca Ryan and Leslie Sanazaro -- to the West Pool Pavilion for a morning of acoustic music. This free Saturday morning concert series takes place at the Tower Grove Farmers'...


July
Sunday
27

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes Sugar Free All-Stars

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes Sugar Free All-Stars 88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Sugar Free All-Stars for a family matinee Sunday, July 27 at Noon. Kids under two are free. $8 advance tickets on sale now. Tickets available at the door for $10. Kids under two are free. For...


July
Thursday
31

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys KDHX presents Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys at The Stage, July 31 at 8pm. Tickets available online.   Born in Louisiana and raised in Missouri, Folk remembers watching his Dad pick the country blues on a...


Get Answers!

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

Online Users

4 users and 13057 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook