J. Edgar: No Redemption for the Movie or the Man

March 3, 2012

Okay, so I am late in getting around to seeing “J. Edgar” and in all truthfulness if I had waited a little longer it would have been fine.  For any of us old enough to remember the name of J. Edgar Hoover as a living person, the movie was a replay of what most of us already knew.  That was fine.  It was a character study, or in the case of J. Edgar a lack of character.  Those of us who are old enough to have memories of the would be “Big Brother” there is little that could have been offered in the film that was a surprise.  No fault of Clint Eastwood.  The man was who he was and what he was — a loathsome creature that even Eastwood could not make affable.  But, I am sure that was not his intention.

The real disappointment came in the acting.  Leonardo Di Caprio was at his very worst.  Of course, the horrible make-up did nothing to enhance the performance, but rather became a comic distraction for me.  By the time Edgar and Clyde had aged in the movie, they became caricatures of the characters.  Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson had a demanding role, but a close up of him at the race track (in his older age) was hilarious.  As J. Edgar called for help as Clyde became ill, Clyde looked more like a character wearing a Halloween mask.  There was nothing, not even a hint of anything resembling natural in the face.  The face mask did not move and although the age lines may have been painted onto the mask, a dose of botox would have been more natural.  In fact, I felt sorry for Armie Hammer in the moment.  He must hate that scene, but rest assured, he cannot be recognized.

The real disappointment was J. Edgar.  Di Caprio has carried off some good roles with apparent ease.  I’m not sure whether it was the horrible make-up or if Di Caprio was just not committed to the character, but this is one that can be put into the “water under the bridge” category.

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