It’s got to be great to have the kind of power Clint Eastwood still possesses today in Hollywood…
Without his name attached to it, I doubt very much J. EDGAR would’ve ever seen the light of day.
J. EDGAR, of course, is Eastwood’s highly anticipated bio-pic of legendary F.B.I. director J. Edgar Hoover.
It’s also a major player in the upcoming Oscar race where it’ll most likely compete in the Best Picture, Best Actor and Director catagories.
As J. Edgar Hoover, Leonardo DiCaprio serves up yet another memorable performance—starting as a spry 24 year-old and continuing on through his controversial career spanning some 53 years to the fading fast age of 77 as an often vindictive and paranoid creator of the nation’s federal police force.
For 2 hours and 20 minutes we experience Hoover serving under an unprecedented six U.S. presidents. Excercising his personal power over the likes of Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. Eastwood provides a fascinating insight into this larger-than-life man who however was incapable of coming to terms with his own shortcomings.
And there were plenty…
Yet Hoover never allowed any of them to overshadow his love, respect and total committment to the F.B.I.
Eastwood shot the picture at a fast pace 1-1/2 months and a reported $35 million budget.
And believe me, it’s all up there on the big screen.
Hats off also to DiCaprio who makes the Hoover persona totally believable. The makeup here—especially for Hoover’s aging years—is remarkable.
Leo’s got the aging down pat.
And by switching back and forth in time throughout the movie and effectively using the voice-over technique, Eastwood keeps the audience hanging on.
Then of course there are those whispers of Hoover’s private life.
His rumored 45 year-long relationship with his Associate Bureau Director Clyde Colson. His alleged cross dressing.
Make no mistake, Eastwood more than hints at all of the above but only takes it so far, letting you make up your own mind.
Rounding out the production is an excellent supporting cast including Judi Dench as Hoover’s matriarch mother.
Armie Hammer portrays Clyde Colson. (You may remember him from THE SOCIAL NETWORK as both of the Winklevoss twins.)
And Naomi Watts is an early romantic interest of Hoover’s who eventually became his personal secretary through his anti-communist period, the depression era and G-Men vs. gangster days – with emphasis on the infamous Lindbergh baby kidnapping case.
J. EDGAR keeps his grip on power by keeping track of compromising details on just about anyone –
politicians, the press – even Martin Luther King, Jr.—all whom could’ve chopped him down to size.
Will this movie be a major boxoffice hit?
Probably not. First off, I doubt whether anyone under the age of 30 or 35 will show much interest in it. So you can pretty well rule out the TRANSFOMERS, HARRY POTTER, FOOTLOOSE and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN crowd.
I also doubt whether the film will have very much female appeal.
But if you want to experience a fascinating history evening at the movies, by all means take in 81 year-old director Clint Eastwood’s J. EDGAR for which I’m nominating 4 out of 5 Oscar-bound fingers!
Catch JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday mornings at 6:40 a.m. on NewsRadio KMBZ Am & FM and at 8:20 a.m. on 1660 RADIO BACH. Also anytime on Time-Warner Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND, Channel 411.