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J. Edgar (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]

Leonardo diCaprio , Armie Hammer , Clint Eastwood    R (Restricted)   Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Expert direction by Clint Eastwood and a tour de force by Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role help make J. Edgar a fascinating, if somewhat less than thoroughly compelling, portrait of one of the most complex and conflicted Americans of the 20th century. Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black's narrative moves freely among various stages of J. Edgar Hoover's life and career, framed by scenes in which the aging FBI director dictates his memoirs to an admiring young agent. Major events include Hoover's crusade against supposed Communists; his involvement in the capture and trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who was convicted of kidnapping and murdering Charles Lindbergh's infant son; the creation of the infamous "confidential" files he kept on his many enemies; his relationship with Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer), Hoover's lifelong friend, companion, and conscience (while Tolson was clearly gay, the much-discussed issue of Hoover's homosexuality is suggested but not explicit); and his vendetta against Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s. The point of view is not entirely unsympathetic, but while it's clear that Hoover was responsible for several crime-fighting innovations, it's equally apparent that this coarse, insecure, socially inept man remained forever under the sway of his overbearing mother (Judi Dench), was only too happy to break the law when it suited him, hectored and scolded others with self-righteous vigor, and lied shamelessly about his own heroic exploits. In view of all that, it's easy to understand why Hoover's legacy is controversial, to say the least.

DiCaprio does a fine job of staying in character (including his East Coast accent), and if his makeup as an older man isn't completely convincing, the dark palette employed by cinematographer Tom Stern throughout the movie (even a daytime scene at a racetrack finds most of the spectators' faces shadowed by their hat brims) makes that much less apparent. As for Eastwood, he has long since established himself as a master of his craft, and although the lengthy J. Edgar has its tedious moments, this is an engaging, admirable film. And while Hoover was almost totally humorless, the movie isn't; it's unlikely that the scene in which Hoover receives the news of John F. Kennedy's assassination while secretly listening to an audiotape of King having illicit sex really happened, but it sure is entertaining. --Sam Graham

From the Studio

The Most Powerful Man in the World.

J. Edgar explores the public and private life of one of the most powerful, controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century. As the face of law enforcement in America for almost fifty years, J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) was feared and admired, reviled and revered. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life.

During his lifetime, J. Edgar Hoover would rise to be the most powerful man in America. As head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for nearly 50 years, he would stop at nothing to protect his country. Through eight presidents and three wars, Hoover waged battle against threats both real and perceived, often bending the rules to keep his countrymen safe. His methods were at once ruthless and heroic, with the admiration of the world his most coveted, if ever elusive, prize.

Hoover was a man who placed great value on secrets–particularly those of others–and was not afraid to use that information to exert authority over the leading figures in the nation. Understanding that knowledge is power and fear poses opportunity, he used both to gain unprecedented influence and to build a reputation that was both formidable and untouchable.

He was as guarded in his private life as he was in his public one, allowing only a small and protective inner circle into his confidence. His closest colleague, Clyde Tolson, was also his constant companion. His secretary, Helen Gandy, who was perhaps most privy to Hoover's designs, remained loyal to the end... and beyond. Only Hoover's mother, who served as his inspiration and his conscience, would leave him, her passing truly crushing to the son who forever sought her love and approval.

As seen through the eyes of Hoover himself, "J. Edgar" explores the personal and public life and relationships of a man who could distort the truth as easily as he upheld it during a life devoted to his own idea of justice, often swayed by the darker side of power.

Oscar® winner Clint Eastwood ("Gran Torino," "Million Dollar Baby," "Unforgiven") directed the film from a screenplay by Oscar® winner Dustin Lance Black ("Milk"). Academy Award® nominee Leonardo DiCaprio ("Inception," "Blood Diamond") stars in the title role. "J. Edgar" also stars Academy Award® nominee Naomi Watts ("21 Grams") as Helen Gandy, Hoover's longtime secretary; Armie Hammer ("The Social Network") as Hoover's protégé Clyde Tolson; Josh Lucas ("The Lincoln Lawyer") as the legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh, whose son's kidnapping changes the public profile of the F.B.I.; and Oscar® winner Judi Dench ("Shakespeare in Love") as Hoover's over-protective mother, Anne Marie Hoover. --© Warner Bros.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good docu-drama June 15 2012
By Andrew in Calgary TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Dicaprio was excellent in the role, and Eastwood's directing was excellent as well. The script attempted to be historically accurate, and the special features explain where the soft data lies. This is important since secrecy was a key component of Hoover's directorship.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fidelity. Bravery. Integrity March 13 2012
By L. Power HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Throughout an illustrious directing career Clint Eastwood has delivered outstanding movies such as Unforgiven, Mystic River, and Million Dollar Baby, for which he has won five Academy Awards, for best Picture, Best Director, and including the Irving Thalberg Life Achievement Award. My personal favorite of all his directed movies is Gran Torino.

The actors who have worked with him have been blessed with Oscar: Gene Hackman for Unforgiven, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn for Mystic River, Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank for Million Dollar Baby.

When I heard Clint Eastwood was doing a movie about Hoover, I admit I was somewhat excited, although it would be a challenging movie to do.

I wondered would it deal with the relationship with the Kennedys, conspiracy theories, Hoover's alleged homosexuality, and alleged crossdressing, if it would deal with the entire career, if it would dare to show him in all his unpleasantness and darkness.

If Hoover were alive today, I think he would be horrified at this movie. Undoubtedly, no such movie could have been made while he was alive.

J Edgar deals with the entire span of J Edgar's career and makes brave choices in portraying the relationship between he and his No 2, Colson. The screenplay was written by same person who wrote the screen play for Milk.

Leonardo DiCaprio making his first movie apart from Martin Scorsese in 12 years does an outstanding job in the title role, as does Arnie Hammer in the role of Colson. Naomi Watts plays Hoover's long time secretary to whom he proposes early in the movie, and Judi Dench plays his domineering and controlling mother.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie May 16 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
A little bit too long as movie but it fascinating how this guy want to have all infos on everyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars DiCaprio’s Take On J Edgar Hoover’s Life April 19 2014
By Stella Carrier TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I admit that I was only interested in watching J. Edgar (directed and produced by Clint Eastwood)due to Leonardo DiCaprio starring in it. He is one of my top seven favorite actors, and I am among the group of people that felt that DiCaprio was robbed of an Oscar this year (for his role in Wolf of Wall Street). Leonardo Di Caprio carefully plays both the good and shadowy aspects of J. Edgar’s lifelong career in the FBI. The film shows how his mother had a strong influence on his professional and personal demeanor (played by Judi Dench). The positive side of him that the movie showed was through the Lindbergh kidnapping incident where he showed determination to track down whoever was responsible for the kidnapping. One of the incidents in the movie that showcases the shadowy side of Hoover is shown through how he reacts to Martin Luther King Jr. accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Naomi Watts plays the role of Helen Gandy, Hoover’s personal secretary. Arnie Hammer plays the role of Clyde Tolson, a man who initially became FBI clerk and is listed to have eventually been promoted to Associate Director of FBI. The end of the J. Edgar movie lists the following facts:
The contents of Hoover’s “personal” and “confidential” papers will never be known. Only a few clues from misfiled documents have surfaced.
Clyde Tolson inherited Hoover’s estate, moved into his house, and accepted the U.S. flag draped over Hoover’s coffin.
Clyde Tolson is buried a few yards away from Hoover’s grave in the Congressional Cemetary.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Should have been better Sept. 15 2012
By Kona TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray
This speculative biopic of the controversial FBI director stars Leonardo DiCaprio. The story opens in 1970, as Hoover is dictating his history of the Bureau; in flashbacks, we see his pivotal role the Lindburgh case and his battles with Communists, the Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Martin Luther King, Jr. He was also obsessed with his doting mother (Judi Dench) and his long-time Assistant Director, Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer).

The story is, in turns, exciting and boring, heartfelt and cheesy and has two insurmountable flaws: DiCaprio is horribly miscast as Hoover (he still looks and sounds like Jack Dawson, despite supposedly aging 53 years) and the terrible old-age make-up used for Hoover, Tolson, and Hoover's secretary (Naomi Watts) is absolutely terrible. Tolson, in particular, looks like Boris Karloff's Mummy and even though director Eastwood filmed the entire movie in dim, half-light, the make-up is distracting and never convincing.

I found the story of Hoover's life interesting and came away feeling quite sorry for this sad, tortured man, but the casting and make-up ruined it for me.
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