J. Edgar is a GOOD movie....not a GREAT one. Not the great one we expected, at least.
When I say "drooling mess" I only think back on how slow the film started out. The first forty-five minutes to an hour of J. Edgar is the ultimate snoozer, where almost no entertainment is driven toward the audience. It starts out dry and remains that way for a while up until the moment where characters start to feel closer and the story starts to open-up a bit. To get to the point, the film could have easily attracted the viewers to the film a bit differently because the way the movie begins almost caused me to walk out of the theater. Luckily to my effect, J. Edgar drastically picks up in the second half.
J. Edgar looks like it could be this year's Best Picture from the incredibly well-done trailers. Almost every aspect in the trailer is perfect, from the acting to the way the film will pace itself. I wouldn't walk into this film expecting it to be great, but you can at least now only expect something worthy of your time. To be brutally honest, this isn't the type of movie you want to receive a ticket-stub for. Its a film to rent and enjoy in the comfort of your own home. I was certainly uncomfortable watching this at the theater because I had to choice in napping in the chair or not. Yes, I hate to say it, but the first hour will try its best to put you to sleep.
As I already mentioned, however, the second-half of the film is a buzzing alarm-clock that wakes you from your deep sleep. J. Edgar incredibly picks up the pace and restores whatever audience members were thinking of the film beforehand. What really picks up the pace in the film is the strong relationship that Edgar forms with his right-hand man, Clyde. Its the sweet chemistry between the two men that grasped my attention most from the film, believe it or not. Nothing before this complicated entry to the film intrigued my attention as much as Edgar's hidden sexuality. It was dark, but it opened up a lot of emotional doors to the film where the audience could feel for the character. The way that the film portrays Edgar's hidden secrets about his homosexuality was simple, but brilliant because it was what tied everything great about the film together. If the film was to just focus on what we could read in a history book, it'd be as boring as the first hour all the way through. This focus was deeper and certainly better than expected.
Despite some of the reactions this film is receiving, Leonardo DiCaprio deserves himself an Oscar. He without a doubt gives the best performance I've witnessed all year and even though the film may not be perfect, the performance was. Leonardo DiCaprio once again proves that he is one of the best actors of this generation and if he doesn't win an Oscar for his portrayal of J. Edgar then the man may be cursed from ever winning an Oscar in his life. While hearing that DiCaprio is deserving of an Oscar (You can probably tell from the trailers), Armie Hammer also deserves himself an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Clyde. The man gave a very strong performance in last year's hit The Social Network, but here, he proves himself worthy of going places. Hammer's beautiful chemistry with DiCaprio is almost too perfect to be true, and for that, they both deserve Oscar-nominations.
One of the few problems I had with the film was the narration. The only flaw in Leo's performance was the way he delivered each and every line through narration. It was dull, flat, and deliberately annoying. The character at times wouldn't even sound the way he would through face-to-face scenes, and the narration unfortunately moves throughout the entire film which brings it down incredibly. The only thing that could possibly decease Leo's chance at an Oscar is the poor narration, something that could have easily been lighted on.
Another strong issue I had with J. Edgar was the make-up. In the scenes where J. Edgar is supposed to be older, DiCaprio doesn't look so bad but his hands look beyond fake. In fact, he looks exactly like Phillip Seymour Hoffman; it was quite creepy at times. DiCaprio's make-up job wasn't horrible, but it definitely needed some work. The disastrous job, however, goes to the work on Armie Hammer, who looks ridiculous. You can almost tell he's wearing plastic on his face. At times, you wonder to yourself, why didn't the film just cast an older actor for these few scenes? While Hammer does still power-house through these rough times of looking horrible, it was a tough flaw to get passed. Clint Eastwood usually perfects these areas, so I was as shocked as I was disappointed.
J. Edgar may not be perfect, but it has its moments that help keep the movie fashionable and good. Eastwood is a great director, especially for his age, and he proves here that he can direct a great-looking film. The cinematography is great, even though it brings out the horrible make-up jobs a bit more. Through the bad, however, there was always a bit of good to back it up. Leo's incredible performance along with the chemistry he had with Hammer was fascinating, but the film's slow-moving pace does make you wish you had chosen an action-film like Immortals because that would at least be entertaining. The only flaw in performance is whoever played Robert F. Kennedy. It had got to be the worst portrayal of a Kennedy I've ever witnessed in a movie. Without that, all performances in the film would have been flawless. In the end, there is nothing more you can say about the film than the following: J. Edgar is a GOOD movie....not a GREAT one. Not the great one we expected, at least.
Thanks for the read!
-Written by Corey Wood