Wednesday, December 14, 2011
A G-Man, A G-Movie.
J Edgar Hoover was the man who put the “Federal” in FBI. He was with the FBI for 48 years and he basically made it what it is today. Back in the day when America feared the Communists, J was the man. He busted those guys good. The problem is that he violated a lot of their American rights, but heck, he was right! He caught the bad guys.
After all that died down, people were now safe, and started to think he had no more use, but then the gangsters started up and J was back on track; busting bad guys again with his G-Men, who became famous in Pulps and old movies.
This movie is about everything he did, and also about the man. He was pretty much adhering to strict standards (always in suits, clean-cut, manners) he had high standards for himself and all in his organization (he fires a guy because he has a moustache!). That being said, they say he was a closet gay, we know his best friend Clyde Tolson probably was, and they spent a lot of time together. Also that he would dress in women’s clothing and lived with his mother until she died. All this in the movie, but the movie is never making a judgment call on him, or what he is doing. It’s left up to you to decide what you think of the man, and I really liked that aspect of this film.
Directed by Clint Eastwood (so you know it’s going to be long and slow moving) I believe that J started out as a good guy with good intentions and I agreed with almost everything he did, at least when he was starting out. But later, just like all great men (the road to hell is paved with good intentions) started to lose it a bit. He became a bit paranoid and was so scared of losing what he created that he was forced to blackmail people to keep his power. He kept files on all the presents and their families and he was willing to do anything to make sure the bureau survived.
As for Leo, I thought his performance was amazing. I like Leo and think he is a good actor and he really sold it in this one. At times I forgot it was him, which is a good thing!
This is a really good movie and one I will be buying for sure. I will say that it helps if you know something about J Edgar, BEFORE seeing this film, as a few people ended up walking out of the picture due to sheer stupidity on their part. They were confused as to what was going on, and probably didn’t know any of the people mentioned in the film, so they had no frame of reference and couldn’t take it. This is a heavy drama on a complicated man that is no saint. But I think in the end he did do a lot of great things, so judge him as you like.
And whether you like him or hate him, or just aren’t sure, I think you will agree that the movie is really good!