Here's a trailer for J. Edgar, the Clint Eastwood biopic of the original G-Man, J. Edgar Hoover. Here the gradually Brandoing actor Leonardo DiCaprio plays the conflicted and controversial man, with plenty of heavy accent and face putty.
Clint Eastwood's later movies, his Golden Years movies, let's say from Mystic River on, are such tremendously simple, almost remedial affairs that I can't really imagine what nuance or depth of analysis he'll bring to the complicated life of J. Edgar Hoover. Here's a guy who did both great and terrible things, who was hugely famous but lived a knotted and gnarled private life that only some were aware of. Very interesting stuff! But in the flat-pan Eastwood aesthetic — the one that's given us thick, clunky lessons in race tolerance and euthanasia and women's rights — I can't help but feel like we'll be treated to, well, simply a stream of accent and face putty.
And look at that face putty! Oof, look at that face putty. Not good, everyone. Not good. DiCaprio is a good actor, but he's still, still!, done in sometimes by his innate boyishness, coming across sometimes as if he's wearing his dad's suits and doing a little living room theater for mommy. And here, at least in these brief clips, it seems he's thwarted again. And then he's covered in face putty.
But who knows, it could interesting. Armie Hammer, playing Hoover's longtime right-hand man and believed lover Clyde Tolson, is much buzzed-about, supposedly delivering one of those big Oscar Performances. And no one's ever been mad at Judi Dench or Naomi Watts for being in a movie. And hey, Lea Thompson and Ed Westwick are in this too! So if nothing else the cast is eclectic and interesting. I don't trust Eastwood with more than a stultifyingly straightforward story these days, but maybe at least the actors can add a little zest.