Leonardo DiCaprio is no stranger to onscreen transformation, and takes on the FBI's first director, J.
Leonardo DiCaprio is no stranger to onscreen transformation, and takes on the FBI's first director, J. Edgar Hoover, in Clint Eastwood's biopic J. Edgar. With the help of makeup, a Southern accent, and some idiosyncrasies, DiCaprio seamlessly shows us Hoover as both the hero that took criminal investigation to a new level, and the villain who resorted to questionable methods to get there. Though DiCaprio's performance is engaging, the film isn't on par with Eastwood's finest films.
The story is told in Hoover's words, as he relates his career to various young men who are helping him transcribe his life story. The juxtaposition of Hoover's life as a young man (beginning at the start of his career in 1920) and his final years echoes the film's theme of dichotomy. As the FBI's director and a public figure, Hoover is arrogant, stubborn, and adamant about what he wants. Behind closed doors, Hoover is still a scared young man who is paranoid about losing his power and struggling with his sexual identity.
To see why J. Edgar left me feeling underwhelmed, just read more