Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - March, 2012


"J. Edgar" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements



Clint Eastwood directed this film about the life of J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) that rolls out through a series of flashbacks as he tells his autobiography to a ghost writer.  J. Edgar Hoover was America's first FBI Director and served in that capacity under six different Presidents from FDR to Nixon.  This movie shows how Hoover took over the Bureau and used his powers as Director for his own personal and political gain.  Much of his drive to succeed was fostered by his Mother (Judi Dench) and we get a satisfying look at their relationship here.  This movie also brings to life two of Hoover's closest friends and advisors; his loyal secretary, Helen Gandy (Watts) and Hoover's closest advisor, best friend and Deputy Director, Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer).


  • Warner Brothers
  • 2011, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 17 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer, Josh Lucas and Judi Dench
  • Directed by Clint Eastwood
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Mild
  • Sex: Mild
  • Language: Yes


I enjoyed learning about J. Edgar Hoover's career with the FBI in this movie.  He made such major contributions to the art and science of running an effective law enforcement organization - from focusing on forensics to establishing a national fingerprint data base.  It is amazing how much one determined, principled man can accomplish when properly motivated.  It was interesting to learn what made Hoover tick and how he worked his way into a position of power so great that he wielded more political strength than some of the Presidents he served.  Leonardo DiCaprio puts in a solid performance here with the downside being the slow pace of the film.  It runs over two hours, but could have been neat and tidy under two hours with the same impact.


The image was dark with muted colors.  It was almost black and white.  This visual style is a part of the movie's visual theme as is the play on shadows throughout.  But I am deducting a star from the Video score because the picture was inexplicably soft.  The Audio is DT HD Master 5.1 with excellent voice reproduction.  There is very little music in the movie and only a few scenes with audio effects - one bomb and a few Tommy Guns.  Those effects sounded fine.  So the Audio is servicable if not of a standout quality.


This is a Warner Brothers two-disc Combo Pack with a Blu-ray disc and a DVD featuring an ultraviolet streaming digital copy.  The only other extras is the short featurrette titled "J. Edgar: A Complicated Man".