Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Friday, 11 November 2011 00:00

'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


Karate Bikini - A Simpler Sugar

Wed November 26
Karate Bikini is an eight piece ensemble who's members hail from St. Louis and the metro area. They are a large band with a large sound. Their latest album A Simpler Sugar is full of upbeat pop songs,…

KDHX Recommends

January
Saturday
17

Recording Clinic with Patrick Crecelius

KDHX is proud to host a DIY mixing workshop for musicians at The Stage at KDHX. The clinic will be taught by Patrick Crecelius of Cedar Box Studio. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, his credits include such local artists as Ryan...


January
Sunday
18

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes The Boogers

The Boogers are the brainchild of Dr. Paul Crowe. Fatherhood, a PhD in Developmental Psychology, and 20 years of sloggin' it in wretched clubs as a punk rocker - even opening for Dee Dee Ramone and Marky Ramone - formed Paul's...


February
Sunday
01

Discovery Series

The Discovery Series, a 10-event series spanning February to June, 2015, will not only bring you new music, but also music-focused interactive sessions that take a look at how music plays a role in our society. Each month the...


Get Answers!

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

Online Users

4 users and 14418 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook