J. Edgar 
Rated R for brief profanity.
Running time: 137 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers
Film Review by
Very Good (3 stars)
J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) served as director of the FBI from its
founding in 1935 until his death in 1972. Over the course of that tenure, the
legendary G-Man singlehandedly built the agency into an intimidating espionage
and crime-fighting operation feared by gangsters and law-abiding citizens alike.
For, as his powers and spheres of influence expanded, he began directing his agents to spy not only on crooks and racketeers but on anyone he considered un-American, such as members of civil rights and anti-war organizations. And armed with the fruit of a variety of arguably unconstitutional surveillance techniques, he proceeded to stockpile a mammoth database of personal dirt to employ for purposes of blackmail, embarrassment and the leveling of veiled threats.
Appropriately narrated in an almost confessional tone by the title character, J.
Edgar stands in sharp contrast to the dozens of previous screen portrayals of
Hoover which had studiously avoided the sexual preference question. Credit
iconoclastic Clint Eastwood for belatedly bringing a more balanced treatment to
the screen, even if the shocking truth about such a tortured soul is apt to make
audiences squirm in their seats.
Between the cross-dressing and pleas of "Please don't leave me, Clyde!" brace yourself to see the vulnerable underbelly, literally and figuratively, of an anguished icon knocked off his pedestal.