Written by / 11/16/2011 / No comments / , , ,

J. EDGAR

title: J. EDGAR
year: 2011
cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer, Ken Howard
rating: *

Never has a movie trailer been so deceiving, teasing an epic biographical drama about the rise and fall of a powerful man with secrets that ruined him. But there’s no rise to merit a fall… or much of anything else for that matter. Leonardo DiCaprio, playing J. Edgar Hoover, bounces from one boring scene (and/or time period) to the next… displaying no qualities of a person who, although flawed and now considered a joke, did make an impact. His innovations in fingerprinting, and the climb from a snoopy young agent to the head of the F.B.I., are treated as importantly as a midnight snack. And the only revelations are that he loved his mother and was a closeted homosexual, but even these stories play out like bad soaps. Segments following taut historical situations, like the Lindbergh kidnapping, build no suspense – leading only to Hoover screwing things up: time and time again. And most of the side-characters, from biographers to politicians to fellow agents to his closest friends, are used merely as counterpoint-mouthpieces: questioning everything Hoover says just in case the audience can’t figure out each lie on their own. DiCaprio is far better here than THE AVIATOR, where he was completely miscast playing a grownup. With desperate, narrowed eyes fervently seeking purpose, he does try hard... even in the fake looking old man makeup… but with a script so lacking of any personal or historical significance, it feels like he’s treading water. But the worst crime, exceeding the fact most of the dialog occurs between two people who'd never reveal these conversations, is the dull direction by Clint Eastwood, who should either retire or go back to making action movies, because this clunker has no pulse whatsoever.
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