J.Edgar" is a film that falls victim to its aged director who seems to care more for sentimentality, which panders the audience, rather than upholding the high standards that he has set for himself.
DiCaprio portrays Hoover's life from the beginning of the Prohibition in the "Roaring '20s" to his death in the early '70s. Alongside DiCaprio stars Naomi Watts as his secretary, Judi Dench, as his overbearing mother, and, Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson, Edgar's rumored homosexual partner. Eastwood has assembled a prestigious cast, who, on a performance basis, did a tremendous job. However, its narrative is where the film's biggest weakness lies.
The screenplay, written by Dustin Lance Black (Milk), doesn't suffer from a lack of interesting sequences but rather too many sequences. It jumps back and forth between multiple events in an attempt to parallel his early years with his later ones but because of Eastwood's choppy editing, the film lacks any sense of coherence. At the same time the film leaves practically nothing to the imagination. It bangs all of its thematic material over the audience's head until there is no other choice but to leave with an overwhelming sense of being lost and indifferent towards the man that is portrayed on screen. It does not allow the audience to have any emotional or intellectual attachment to the events being portrayed.
Compared to Eastwood's previous achievements, such as Mystic River and Unforgiven, J. Edgar is one of his weaker productions; it's neither his absolute worst nor his absolute best. It's a film that falls victim to its aged director who seems to care more for sentimentality, which panders the audience, rather than upholding the high standards that he has set for himself.