J. Edgar (2011)

J. Edgar
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Dustin Lance Black
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Judi Dench, Naomi Watts, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Lucas, Zach Grenier, Jeffrey Donovan, Lea Thompson, Ed Westwick, Stephen Root

John Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) dreams of a bureau of invesitgations that is based on scientific principles and used against the bolshevik threat he sees for the country. He gets his chance to start such a bureau and with the help of his trusted secretary Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts) and his soon to be second in command/love of his life Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) he is soon very successful. But once risen to power, Edgar clings to it desperately, not caring much for concerns like legality.

I really liked this movie very much and nobody is as surprised about it as I am. I mean, a Clint Eastwood movie that’s not boring? How did that happen?

Personal theory on how this movie ended up not being a half hour (at least) too long: it helped that he didn’t do everything on his own but had at least the script written by somebody else. And Dustin Lance Black’s script was absolutely fantastic. I can’t imagine that anybody else could have done a better job.

He manages the balance between Hoover’s private and political life perfectly and drew me in, even though I’m usually not the person for political intrigue and drama. You just really get the sense that you understand Hoover and you get him.

The other thing that blew me away: Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer both deliver terrific performances. They really capture you. I didn’t expect anything else from Leonardo DiCaprio, but Armie Hammer really surprised me. But I like good surprises, so that’s fine with me. And I don’t have to mention Judi Dench, do I? Brilliance is her as we all know.

I would have appreciated a little more color though. I know that it’s really en vogue to show the 50s as brown/black/grey. As if color only came into existence with Rock and Roll. And since the movie doesn’t have Rock and Roll, it’s almost monochrome. But that’s a small complaint in a generally awesome film.

Summarising: Watch it.

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