Saturday, November 12, 2011



Leonardo DiCaprio: J. Edgar Hoover
Judi Dench: his mother Annie
Naomi Watts: his personal secretary Helen Gandy
Armie Hammer: Agent Clyde Tolson
Josh Lucas: Aviator Charles Lindbergh
Jeffrey Donovan: Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy

In a series of flashbacks this biographical film covers the career of the longest serving Director of the F.B.I. including some speculative details of his private life. But that aspect of the man is not the real focus of the movie. Instead we follow his total dedication and uncompromising approach to the job, as he sees it.

Production values are first rate with particular attention paid to period detail. One thing though, I’m not sure why so much of it is shot in sepia-tones which lessens the visual impact somewhat. The acting is uniformly good with DiCaprio the best of the lot.

However typical of Clint Eastwood’s productions it is overlong running in excess of two hours. If only they had spent a little more time editing out the few tedious segments and spent less time on desaturating the film of its colour.

for brief strong language (brief it is with only two instances of any vulgar words).

The time shown on the Library of Congress clock is not the same from one scene to the next during the brief time Hoover and Miss Gandy are there.

When Hoover is in Robert F. Kennedy’s office the producers have used ADR (automated dialog replacement) whereby an actor in a sound studio repeats their lines of dialogue. If done well there is synchronization with the film action. Such is not the case in this instance.

This is one of my classic all-time favourite nitpicks: at the end of the telephone conversation Hoover hangs up and Robert F. Kennedy is left listening to the dial tone. In reality the dial tone is only heard after picking up the phone before dialling. That’s why it’s called a dial tone.

I can’t recall the last time I saw such a lousy job of makeup but Clyde in his later years looks like he’s been embalmed rather than made to look older.

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