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'J. Edgar' a rare misfire by Eastwood

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POSTED: April 6, 2012 10:28 a.m.
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Even Leonardo DiCaprio's spot-on performance as the founding leader of the FBI couldn't save "J. Edgar," in Sasha McBrayer's eyes.

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Clint Eastwood’s work as a director often is flawless, inspiring and full of heart.
Since the premiere of “Unforgiven” in 1992, his films have climbed steadily in brilliance. His latest film, the biopic “J. Edgar,” now is on DVD. Is it just as good?
Well, the casting is solid. Leonardo DiCaprio is J. Edgar Hoover, famed director of the FBI. His portrayal reminded me of the dynamic work he pulled off in an earlier biopic, 2004’s “The Aviator”, in which he brought Howard Hughes to life. It seems Hoover is a character who is just as quirky.
It is no surprise that DiCaprio is astoundingly good in this role. He plays Hoover at various stages of his life, from enthusiastic youth to weary old age, and is spot on all the while.  I’m not sure how the Oscar voters failed to nominate him.
However, I do see why the film itself was ignored at the Oscars.  “J. Edgar” is a downright boring film. It jumps around in time aimlessly, making an already long and dull biography seem confusing and without a compass. Bits that should have been fascinating — such as Hoover’s investigation into the disappearance of the Lindbergh baby — get lost in the mire.
I’m almost afraid to say it, given my most reverent respect for Eastwood, who is one of the greatest directors working in Hollywood today.
Add to that the fact that he is Dirty Harry and I’d never want to “make his day,” but I’m not a fan.

 

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