J. Edgar (2011)

J. Edgar (2011)
  • Time: 137 min
  • Genre: Biography | Crime | Drama
  • Director: Clint Eastwood
  • Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer


Biopic of J. Edgar Hoover told by Hoover as he recalls his career for a biography. Early in his career, Hoover fixated on Communists, anarchists and any other revolutionary taking action against the U.S. government. He slowly builds the agency’s reputation, becoming the sole arbiter of who gets hired and fired. One of his hires is Clyde Tolson who is quickly promoted to Assistant Director and would be Hoover’s confidant and companion for the rest of Hoover’s life. Hoover’s memories have him playing a greater role in the many high profile cases the FBI was involved in – the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the arrest of bank robbers like John Dillinger – and also show him to be quite adept at manipulating the various politicians he’s worked with over his career, thanks in large part to his secret files.

One review

  • J. Edgar Hoover. I know enough about American history and American politics to know that the very name was enough to strike both fear and loathing into the hearts of successive American presidents for decades. J. Edgar Hoover. For almost 40 years the director of the FBI, played in this bio-pic by Leonardo DiCaprio.

    The movie (directed by Clint Eastwood) includes a lot of interesting reflections on Hoover’s life and what made him the man he was – a complicated relationship with his mother; a complicated relationship with Clyde Tolson, his assistant director and close friend/lover/whatever; obsessively self-promoting and obsessively jealous of agents who got too much publicity. He’s certainly a worthy enough choice for this kind of bio-pic. The movie basically shifts back and forth from the investigation into the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby in 1932 up to Hoover’s declining years in the 1960’s and early 70’s. There’s a great deal of interesting material 9mostly related to the subjects I’ve already mentioned.)

    Di Caprio was an interesting choice to play Hoover. To be perfectly honest, I can’t say that he really leapt out at me in the role. Armie Hammer was better as Clyde Tolson. The most interesting scenes in the movie are probably those between DiCaprio and Hammer as a glimpse is offered into Hoover’s private life (which is still a source of debate.) The movie moved too often and too abruptly between the two time periods, with the result that it didn’t seem to flow very naturally to me. Obviously, with almost all of the scenes being set in the two afore-mentioned time periods, there’s a lot of material from Hoover’s career left out.

    So, the movie certainly gives one a taste of how complex a character Hoover was, but it doesn’t entirely satisfy. (6/10)

Write your review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *