J. Edgar charts the life of the creator and head of the F.B.I. from his Bolshevik-hating youth through to his death during the Nixon years.
I was interested to find out more about the almost mythic figure of J. Edgar Hoover but despite direction by the ever sure-footed Clint Eastwood, this biopic comes across as a rather muddled and uneven affair. He is no doubt a difficult personality to pin down; on the one hand he is shown as a dedicated perfectionist who virtually invented forensic investigation and was the scourge of organised crime, on the other a self-aggrandising bully whose paranoia and need for constant control caused him to abuse his powers to a quite shocking degree. It is an interesting story set through 50 years of American recent history and I did feel like I’d learned something of the man behind the myth. But at the same time J. Edgar is a rather uninvolving and dry affair that lacks the kind of narrative focus required to make a life story truly engaging.
It’s a technically well made little history lesson but anyone not interested in politics may be left rather cold.