“The crimes we are investigating aren’t crimes, they are ideas.” – Agent Stokes, J. Edgar (2011)
I don’t think I’ve ever been so bored watching a film before. Usually I at least sit with some content as to what I am watching. This was one of those rare exceptions where I had to pause the film and go do something else. For my first time watching a Clint Eastwood directed film, this was really not that good a start. But what went wrong? I think that’s quite difficult to explain if I’m honest, there was a lot going on all at once.
The film follows the life of J. Edgar (Leonardo DiCaprio), the head of the FBI in America for over fifty long years. It shows his rise to power and how he maintained himself as the most powerful man in America.
One of the biggest problems I have with the film is the performances. Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar is quite a good choice for the role. The same goes for Judi Dench in a supporting role as Edgar’s mother. Apart from those two performances though, there isn’t anything that stands out. I do like Leonardo DiCaprio but not in this film. There’s just something about his performance, perhaps the accent, that is rubbing me the wrong way.
This is a problem consistent with the film though. No not the accents I just mean in a general sense all of the performances are lacking. There’s nothing to bring any tense moments to the film nor is there a lot of real danger. Without this added tension, you’re literally just watching a documentary that has been acted by some pretty bad actors. Some of the performances, notably in the supporting cast, were genuinely just bad. Nothing more, nothing less, they were just bad in every sense of the word.
It doesn’t help either that Eastwood is dealing with far too broad a subject in just two hours. No, this film shouldn’t have been longer my God I wouldn’t have lasted another hour. To me Eastwood does in fact miss the point with this iteration of film. He doesn’t actually answer any questions about J. Edgar. As someone who knew nothing of him before the film was introduced to me, I haven’t learned anything further after watching. A biopic should at least provide you with some new information, but nothing in this film feels like it’s necessarily important.
Something that really did bug me was how genuinely terrible the soundtrack to this film is. I never thought you could reach this level of bad, but J. Edgar manages it with ease. Obviously a film shouldn’t be merited on its soundtrack alone, but music is extremely important in film. It adds or detracts to a scene. For the most part, it was detracting from the scenes throughout this film.
As a whole the film seems very anti-communism, which is fine, I guess. It’s no secret that I am left leaning to say the least, but that’s not the point. Communism was the main enemy around the time of J. Edgar, especially in America. Director Clint Eastwood makes this very apparent throughout the film. We can often see our characters bustling through corridors talking about the American dream and the fall of Communism. It was to the point of patriotism, and I don’t like patriotism. Not in reality, not in film. What’s the problem with the Bolsheviks, Clint?
To be fair it’s the only film where you’re going to see Leonardo DiCaprio wearing old people prosthetics. It’s genuinely eerie how bad it looks. Seriously, go find this movie, watch it through and you’ll see what I mean. It’s not that it’s bad actually, it’s just that it looks extremely weird. If that’s the only reason you’re watching this film then I really wouldn’t blame you for that.
See the largest problem in this film is the fact that I just don’t care. There is no reason to care because I’m simply not given one. Why should I care about the relationships of these characters? They’re so poorly acted I don’t honestly consider caring for them whatsoever. The key to having me care about these characters is to actually make me care in the first place. Because I don’t care, I simply have no reason to be watching the film. It’s a two hour film that took me three to get through.
In regard to cinematography the film is very dark, there’s a definite reliance on darker colours to say the least. While there’s nothing wrong with that, a little bit of colour goes a long way to say the least. Eventually I got extremely bored of seeing a mopey Leonardo DiCaprio walking around a barely lit room. This happened several times, sometimes with other people there. I’m not sure what it added to the film, my guess is literally nothing at all. The darkened rooms were nothing more than an annoyance for me.
So that was J. Edgar, definitely one of the most boring films I have seen in a very long time. Aside from some fairly decent chemistry between Leonardo DiCaprio and Judi Dench, there’s literally nothing for me within this film. Eastwood’s direction is something I have always wanted to check out, however I don’t think this was the film to do it. None of the performances compliment one another, which basically means there are literally no good performances. Eastwood’s direction really doesn’t help that in this instance either. He goes more for moody tones than actual, you know, good movie tones.
What possessed me to buy this in the first place I will never know. What I do know however is that I spent the majority of my time traipsing round the room, pausing the movie and doing something else or just staring at my notes. There was nothing keeping me interested in this film. Two hours of basically nothing happening managed to bore me to the point of turning the film off and making this a write off. As far as I’m concerned, there’s a definite reason why people don’t remember this film. The fact that nothing happens for two hours may be the prime reason for this.