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J. Edgar

Director:  Clint Eastwood
Year Released:  2011
Rating:  2.0

Condensed portrait of the life and times of notorious FBI director J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his sometimes less-than-legitimate ways of ruling over America and bolstering his own image - there to view his foibles and play in with the lies is his longtime companion Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer). Eastwood has never exactly been the best at juggling time frames (I still remember you, Flags of Our Fathers), and it's up to the hideous makeup to let you know exactly what era things are going on in, but the real issue is screenwriter Dustin Lance Black's handling of Hoover's deeply, profoundly closeted sexuality as metaphor for the way he ran his work operations which is troubling, especially since historians can't seem to agree about Hoover's true orientation (was Tolson his lover or just a friend? did Hoover really cross-dress?). The proto-Freudian explanation for Hoover's deviousness and fibbing and underhanded political methods somehow seems a little cheap; the picture is at once repulsed by and infatuated with its complex main character. Cue The Crystals track, "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)"....

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