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Review: J. Edgar

DiCaprio as right-wing hero J. Edgar Hoover
By GERALD PEARY  |  November 8, 2011
2.0 2.0 Stars

Filmmaker Clint Eastwood, famously Republican, portrays right-wing hero J. Edgar Hoover, the late FBI head, as a self-aggrandizing, conniving bully and mama's boy who broke the law whenever he wanted to bring anyone down. Leonardo DiCaprio has the unenviable task of playing a character without a single redeeming feature. He's good as the little merde, though the film itself wobbles from boring bio scenes to effective political history to embarassingly miscast actors playing Bobby Kennedy (Jeffrey Donovan) and Richard Nixon (Christopher Shyer). The script by Dustin Lance Black (Milk) is overwritten, with characters lecturing Hoover about his misdeeds, as if we can't figure them out ourselves. Black does offer a lot of time to the closeted relationship of Hoover and his second-in-command, Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer). There's little doubt of their gayness, though we don't know if they actually have sex or just hold hands a lot.

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