Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, Judi Dench, Damon Herriman, Jeffrey Donovan, Ed Westwick, Ken Howard, Stephen Root, Denis O'Hare, Geoff Pierson, Lea Thompson and Gunner Wright.
The two reasons i was quite excited about this movie were Leonardo DiCaprio starring in a movie that Clint Eastwood is directing. That alone built this anticipation in me as i am a big fan of both of them. Clint Eastwood's last few efforts weren't very interesting and good, the very last one was a complete disappointment while i don't feel like that for the others like everyone else. After watching the first look, i was disappointed once again because the movie literally looked like a disappointment for sure which later on was proven. I still wont say that this movie was a complete failure or the worst movie you would ever see but its was below average and could have been better if it wasn't for Clint Eastwood never truly exploring the whole story. Movie opens up with J. Edgar Hoover in his older days wishing to hire a writer to write his biography on and that is when the movie starts throughout the life of Hoover both professional and personal one. Hoover's boss, Attorney General at the Justice Department survives a assassination attempt during 1919 and he tells about how crime scenes were handled back than and that it needed a change. Later Hoover returns to his house with a news to tell his mom as he is now in charge of a new division, he meets Gandy played by Naomi Watts and shows her around the Library of Congress and explains her about his ideas and then at the end tries to kiss her bit she refuses and then the same happens with his marriage proposal that is again rejected but she is interested in becoming his secretary. After some trials the Attorney General is fired and under a new one, Hoover is made director of the Bureau of Investigation. Hoover is introduced to Clyde Tolson played by Armie Hammer who then applies for job too and is hired. And then the movie continues following the professional life of Hoover and his achievements and his brilliant efforts to make the Crime investigation process and bringing control over the increasing crime rates. It also tackles a very personal topic that no one ever truly admitted or proved but he was rumored to be a homosexual and his feelings towards Clyde Tolson.
J. Edgar could have been so much more than this, so much better but fails to not only leave a mark but it lacks in many other departments if you leave the acting. To me this movie feels like a too much research done from here and there leaving the whole collective effort very dull and lacking the outcome it was suppose to have. Not a perfect biographical drama and the screenplay feel like you reading a book about Hoover that he written while watching a documentary by some hardcore politically influenced channel and as well as your grandpa telling you his version of Hoover simultaneously and what you get from all the hullabaloo is nothing much but you feel lost. This is exactly what i felt and probably you will too. It is weird for a movie to have this epic biopic feel to it while still comes off as very empty and hollow. Clint Eastwood made some superb movie and the last best movie of him is Letters from Iwo Jima no doubt. Here he seems quite out focus and lets the subject get away from him. It doesn't feel like his movie because he seems distant from it, very clumsy direction by him. The narration/plot is very confusing and badly organized as i said it is both lackluster and a mess. There have been quite a talk about the awful makeup use in this movie and i couldn't agree more. Movie like The Iron Lady used a superb makeup work which really added the realistic feel to the characters and even in Albert Nobbs too but here, such a incredible poor work. They look so ugly, plasticy and like a wax statue. About Leonardo DiCaprio as Hoover i think that didn't felt quite convincing to me but i liked his performance no doubt. The makeup is a turn off and a distraction but there are many parts in the movie where he tries to convince you very hard. Not one of his best performances for sure but a fair work by an actor in a movie like this. Armie Hammer's performance was nothing great too, the scene with him confronting Hoover of his feelings and than him storming out after a fight, that was the only high point of his performance and other than that, nothing great.
Naomi Watts doesn't really get much of a screen presence but still when she is there, she is there. Naomi needs to really give a incredible come back performance i mean she is literally lost. I think my favorite performance has to be of Judi Dench, amazing portrayal of Hoover's mother. The scenes between her and Hoover are quite accurate, well done and as personal and close as you can get. Art Direction was nice but the whole color tone and palette was bad and didn't quite really matched the feel of the movie. A disappointing movie that could have been a turning point in Eastwood's falling career as a director.