'J. Edgar' (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
(Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, et al / 2-Disc Blu ray+DVD / R / 2012 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception) stars as J. Edgar Hoover, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for nearly 50 years. Hoover was feared, admired, reviled and revered, a man who could distort the truth as easily as he upheld it. His methods were at once ruthless and heroic, with the admiration of the world his most coveted prize. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life.
DVD Verdict: This was an INCREDIBLE movie to watch. Not knowing a thing about J. Edgar (I am British, after all!), I sat down and let it all sink in. Dustin Lance Black's (MILK) script is solid, if not quite eventful. Despite such a volatile central figure, played in his usual big time framing by DiCaprio, the closest thing to a climactic moment comes between Hoover and his rumored lover, Clyde Tolson; that would be great, if this were a film about Hoover's possible homosexuality, but it isn't.
Nor is it a film about Hoover's political subterfuge. Or the founding of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It's a film about all of that, which means it ends up, really, being a film about none of it. It tries encompassing too much, and in the end, it's as though everyone involved unanimously agreed that Hoover was far too complex for that. So they settled for something a little watered-down.
That's not to say this film doesn't have its merits. It's another solid piece of filmmaking from director Clint Eastwood. It's not in his "great" category (say, UNFORGIVEN or MYSTIC RIVER); it's more like INVICTUS, which was undeniably good but otherwise unremarkable. Likewise, Leonardo DiCaprio gives a layered performance at the titular character; and it may not rank as his finest cinematic hour, but it's worth watching.
The best moments of the film come from the inferiority Hoover feels from interacting with others, namely Judi Dench as his mother, Armie Hammer as Tolson, and Naomi Watts as trustworthy secretary Helen Gandy. It is in these moments that 'J. Edgar' shows glimmers of what it could have been.
Unfortunately, each relationship could easily have been its own film, and that's not even brushing the various political angles. As is, 'J. Edgar' is a film that tries to do too much - but at least you know you have a solid, dependable crew behind at the helm. Watch it tonight and judge for yourself, my friends. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
J Edgar: The Most Powerful Man in the World
'J. Edgar' available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and for download 3/13!
Be sure to check out the free 'J. Edgar' movie app for iPhone, iPad and iPad Touch. The app synchs with the Blu-ray disc to provide enhanced content and interactive features.