DiCaprio delivers strong performance in ‘J. Edgar’

No actor in Hollywood has more mystique than Leonardo DiCaprio. Whatever role he steps into, he somehow plays it to perfection.

It’s been nearly 16 months since DiCaprio appeared on the big screen, but the wait for his latest role is well worth it.

He stars as J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood’s biopic “J. Edgar” in his latest film.

“J. Edgar” chronicles the life and career of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who served the organization for nearly 50 years.

The film’s timeline begins with the Palmer Raids – the deportation of several leftists and anarchists from the U.S. in the early 20th century – and ends with Hoover’s death in 1972.

The film shifts through different points in Hoover’s career, utilizing flashbacks to narrate his life and career. Nearly half of the story takes place in the 1960s when an aging Hoover was on tail end of his career.

The other half chronicles the important events that shaped Hoover’s career, such as the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh, Jr. – better known as “The Crime of the Century” – and the arrests of the countless criminals that many historians call the “Public Enemy Era.”

Although DiCaprio delivers a strong performance, the same cannot be said about Eastwood’s direction. It isn’t bad, but at times the plot jumps around too many times to give it any cohesiveness.

And at times it makes you wonder what Eastwood is trying to convey in this convoluted plot.

The plot is rather dull at times, too, even for a biopic. Much of the film takes place in Hoover’s office with him reminiscing through the greatest achievements in his career.

Of course, it is a drama, but the script doesn’t offer any kind of punch to it.

However, as much as the script and Eastwood’s direction fail to bring this promising film to life, there are masterful performances throughout.

Even though Hoover was a highly successful man, his life was shrouded in controversy, which was ignited by rumors of his homosexuality.

Hoover denied these rumors, but it has been said that some people claimed to have personal knowledge of it.

The film entertains this rumor, as Hoover develops a relationship with Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer). Tolson was the associate director of the FBI, a position he was promoted to in 1930 and held until 1972. For DiCaprio, his portrayal of Hoover is easily one of his most impressive performances of his career.

The way he conducts himself on screen is captivating and he meshes with Hammer, who is just as masterful, perfectly.

Although it certainly isn’t DiCaprio’s and Hammer’s fault, different actors should have played the younger and older versions of Hoover and Tolson, respectively. Tacky makeup is used to make DiCaprio and Hammer look older and it certainly isn’t convincing nor is it realistic.

Luckily, DiCaprio’s and Hammer’s performances save this film from utter mediocrity. This is definitely not Eastwood’s best work, but then again it’s not his worst work.


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