I've seen three movies in the last two weeks (for work ironically) and this is the only one I feel like admitting to. I don't normally care for Leonardo DiCaprio but I do like historicals and Clint Eastwoods films. A bit slow and ponderous, the film still carried itself with interesting insight into an enigmatic almost mythic character of American 20th-century history. Though a historical film I found it to be rather timely, it's hard not to look at the Occupy Wall Street protesters and the other bad news bears and not see the similarities between the early days of Hoover's dealing with communist insurgents and our own uncertainty today. It's like I always say people don't change that much.
Still this wasn't something I think I need to ever sit down and watch again and there wasn't as much sheer entertainment as there is in some other bio pics such as JFK, Hoffa, or even Nixon, but it is worth viewing at least once. It did grant some humanity to an otherwise atypically vilified (perhaps not unjustly) character and I couldn't help but chuckle at some of the hinted secret files. I also had to wonder if Eastwood made a few of his own digs in the movie.
I usually avoid traffic cops like the plague but I have to respect how much Hoover actually brought to the FBI, the innovations in forensic science, national fingerprinting, the man was a visionary in his field. Also Stephen Root was especially enjoyable as one of the first forensic scientists that Hoover utilized. The rumored aspects of Hoover's secret life were also dealt with in a believable and reasonable manner. The costumes were great but the makeup was atrocious, I thought DiCaprio as an old man looked more like Gordon B. Hinckley than J. Edgar Hoover.
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