J. Edgar

J. Edgar

Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Warner Brothers

Release date (UK): January 20th, 2012

Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 137 minutes

Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Dustin Lance Black
Producers: Clint Eastwood, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Robert Lorenz
Composer: Clint Eastwood

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer, Judi Dench, Josh Lucas, Lea Thompson, Ed Westwick, Jeffrey Donovan, Stephen Root, Dermot Mulroney

Official Movie Site

John Edgar Hoover was the most powerful man in the world and the most feared and admired man of his time. He was a man who knew too much about others and had a habit of keeping too many details filed in secret on anyone he thought was against peace, freedom, and most importantly, against America.

He continued to search for secrets to protect his bureau and the country, yet he had a sense of apprehension whenever a question was raised regarding his personal life and his sexuality. Rumors circulated that Hoover was gay and that his associate director of the FBI, Clyde Tolson, was his heir. The two may have been lovers.

J. Edgar

J. Edgar is one of the best films of this year, and a bold feast by Clint Eastwood. The script that I acquired about few months prior to the release of the film impressed me thoroughly, it brought the spotlight on what’s necessary to comprehend and what was necessary back then when Hoover was still the director of the FBI.

It’s beautifully, carefully and passionately written by the screenwriter of Milk (2008), Dustin Lance Black. He has penned down the essential beats of Hoover’s life and structured the script cautiously to portray and keep a balance between Hoover’s private and professional life. Lance’s consecration provides us the smallest details about a complicated, secret, patriotic and at times intense and charming man. Hoover’s strange, yet small habits, suits, hairstyle, and even why he earned the nickname, Speedy, are all prudently written in order to do justice to the man’s life.

To present the story of a man like Hoover on the screen, who was not only a complicated man but an important and prominent figure for decades, page by page, Clint Eastwood shot Lance’s script cautiously. His direction and style is postcard perfect; his camera has framed the sets and his characters to take us all back to that era.

J. Edgar

Eastwood’s work on J. Edgar is not to show you an entertaining film, but to define the meaning of a bio-pic with a dark character and his not so merriment social circle. I believe, a film like J. Edgar is important, a film like this gives us the opportunity to comprehend the grandness of a patriot’s passion for his country. It’s a film that should be taken as a form of education, in my opinio,n so anyone can see and understand the value of history. As Hoover once said,

“When morals decline and good men do nothing evil flourishes. A society unwilling to learn from the past is doomed. We must never forget our history. We must never lower our guard.”

DiCaprio is powerful, passionate, and has given an unforgettable performance. Once you see and understand the actor’s work in front of Eastwood’s camera you will agree that this is Leonardo DiCaprio’s best performance to date.

Armie Hammer portrays Clyde Tolson, J. Edgar’s close friend and his number two man fighting the crime. Hammer has played his role enjoyably and has left a promise note that in future, he will be giving splendid performances. Naomi Watts plays Helen Gandy, an American civil servant. She was the secretary to J. Edgar Hoover. Watts who has a very little opportunity to shine among DiCaprio and Hammer still manages to carry the role of Gandy interestingly with commitment. I have same the opinion regarding Judi Dench as J. Edgar’s mother, Annie Hoover.

J. Edgar

The production design by James J. Murakami and costumes by Deborah Hopper are stylish, appropriate and elegant. Tom Stern’s cinematography has stylishly desaturated the visuals to give the film the feeling of the era.

J. Edgar is an important film and Hoover’s story will surprise you positively and at times negatively, but that’s how Hoover was. He was a son, a patriot, a friend, and maybe a lover. J. Edgar is a film that will bring back the intonation of that era.

I don’t know if J. Edgar was in love with a man or woman, but one thing is for sure knowingly true and this one thing is not a secret. J. Edgar Hoover was in love with his country. His motherland. America. We must take note by understanding the morals and not decline them, for if we decline them evil will flourish.

About Rohan Mohmand

Rohan Mohmand

Rohan is the lead US correspondent for Static Mass. Graduating from High School in Atlanta, Georgia in 2003, Rohan fell in love with the environment of the cinema hall and moving images on the big screen, watching Bollywood, American and Iranian films.

As an aficionado of film noir, mysteries, drama and thrillers, he enjoys the films of Alfred Hitchcock, M.Night Shyamalan, Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan. Engrossed by the originality of his favourite filmmakers it opened a door for him to take on writing scripts as well.

The reverence of directors, actors, stories, art and cinema allows him to experience films with an open mind and leads him to believe strongly in the correspondence of films with the occurrences of the real world.

Rohan writes about the work of directors on his site Masters of Cinema, and you can follow him on Twitter @nightwriter22.