J. Edgar tells the story of one of the most powerful men in the US during the Cold War, J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI. We follow Hoover as he works his way up the chain of the FBI and forms it into the powerful Bureau it is today. Meanwhile, we also get to see how he struggles with his own peculiarities and how he has absolutely no issue with moral ambiguity if it serves his own agenda.
Sound and Vision:
J. Edgar is a very dark movie and especially in the beginning this can come over a bit depressing, but as you get used to it, you start to notice that actually things look very good. The level of detail, the contrast, the sharpness of it all… it’s just great actually. Although you don’t immediately notice it, this transfer is great.
This is a very dialogue-driven movie with little real action but when something does happen, support of the surrounds and subwoofer is adequate. Dialogues are perfectly positioned, gunfire gives a nice plop and the scene in the beginning with the bomb attack shows there’s really nothing wrong at all. The sound supports the movie exaxtly as it should.
- J. Edgar: The Most Powerful Man in the World
An 18 minute feature that gives more insight in Hoover with also appearances of Eastwood, DiCaprio, Watts, Hammer, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, the film’s FBI consultant, and others coming in to share their view.
Eastwood has been making quite a lot of terrific movies over the last ten years, but unfortunately J.Edgar isn’t one of them. Despite a great Leonardo DiCaprio, the movie feels detached, superficial and too long. And this absurdly enough because J. Edgar doesn’t have enough time to truly delve deeper into the psyche of Hoover, nor the evolution of the FBI.
A lot of events pass by, both in Hoover’s personal as well as professional life, but almost all get tackled in a rather superficial way and lack cohesion due to the almost constant use of flashbacks. As a result, we end up feeling that the most powerful character of the movie was actually Hoover’s secretary Helen Gandy. A more straightforward way of storytelling and a clearer focus on either Hoover’s personal life (which little is actually known about, making it difficult to go deep) or his transformation of the FBI and influence on those in power would have made this movie a lot stronger.
As it stands now, J. Edgar is a movie that seems to last too long, has too little depth, and actually keeps the viewer at a distance. A missed opportunity across the board.