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article imageOp-Ed: Clint Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio brilliantly depict 'J. Edgar' Special

By Andrew Moran     Nov 21, 2011 in Entertainment
Toronto - Leonardo DiCaprio portrays another important American historical figure from the first half of the 20th century. This time, the Academy Award nominee takes on the role of former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in "J. Edgar."
Clint Eastwood (“Mystic River” and “Changeling”) has come a long way from his early days as a filmmaker. When he first started directing, he worked for free on the 1971 motion picture “Play Misty For Me,” in which he also starred, opposite Jessica Walter.
40 years later, Eastwood has presented another terrific movie in “J. Edgar.” His latest endeavour chronicles the life of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. The story highlights his early days fighting the Bolshevik invasion of 1919 to his war against gangs to his personal life with his mother, Anna Maria, and alleged lover, Clyde Tolson, associate FBI director.
The story of Hoover has rarely been portrayed on the silver screen. Although he has been mentioned or has played a minor role in films such as the 1992 picture “Chaplin” and the 1995 movie “Nixon,” Hoover has never been the primary focus.
Hoover led a controversial and busy life. Many critics argue that Eastwood’s film should have covered a small portion of it, but I tend to disagree. Eastwood did a phenomenal job showing the audience a 40-year period.
It has been quite a long time since I have sat in a picture-house and have been submerged into a film hoping that it will not end. Who is responsible for this achievement? Eastwood’s directing? Perhaps. How about the supporting cast? That is definitely a possibility. How about Leonardo DiCaprio’s spectacular performance of the communist-fearing American figure? Yes.
DiCaprio (“The Aviator” and “The Departed”) has also come a long way from “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and “Titanic.” Of course, I must say that since “Gangs of New York,” DiCaprio has become one of the best leading Hollywood actors of the past 10 years.
The Academy Award nominee has certainly earned the privilege of being able to pick and choose the directors with whom he wants to work. Fortunately for movie goers, he doesn’t let you down, and neither do his supporting cast members.
Naomi Watts (“21 Grams” and “Funny Games U.S.”), Judi Dench (“Shakespeare in Love” and “Notes on a Scandal”) and the rest did their jobs well. I must attest, though, to Armie Hammer’s (“The Social Network” and “Mirror Mirror”) role.
Hammer stars as Hoover’s associate director, and confidant. This relatively unknown actor will definitely be garnering roles after “J. Edgar” because he was quite good. Will he grab an Oscar nomination? Hard to say, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
After all this praise for “J. Edgar,” what are the downfalls?
Well, one of the only bones I have to pick was the portrayal of Robert F. Kennedy, which was done by Jeffrey Donovan (“Hitch” and “Changeling"), the star of the hit television series “Burn Notice.”
I have respected Donovan’s work in “Changeling” and believe he will certainly be in good films throughout his career, especially if he continues to work with Eastwood. However, his interpretation of Kennedy was too amateur and was incorrectly depicted.
The other issue I have is that Gary Oldman may not receive his long overdue Academy Award for the upcoming “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” which has already created Oscar buzz.
It seems that DiCaprio may grab an Oscar, which is unfortunate because Oldman has been in numerous films and has deserved at least a nomination. DiCaprio has many years ahead of him to win an Oscar, but it may be too late for Oldman.
Although DiCaprio certainly merits an Oscar, Oldman could be in the best movie of the year, yet again.
Rating: 8.5/10
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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