Hello, good evening and welcome (as my mate Sir David Frost would say!) hope your week was good and if not, here's a selection of films that I saw that I think are worth watching but for varying reasons. Confused? Well what are you waiting for, read on....

J Edgar

Clint Eastwood is a man I admire. Why? well he has starred in and makes great movies and before you ask, no, I'm not gonna try and name a few of his films because I’m only going to miss some of them out which you, the reader and avid fan will only slate me for...Hey.... who are you calling a “punk” and why would you want me to “make your day”...... so with that in mind, you must have seen "Gran Torino" where he plays the loveable racist and Korean War Vet, living next door to a lovely Korean family (irony), also what about the two unique great War films he made from the perspectives of both sides of the war.

"Flags of Our Fathers" was a film depicting the war betweenUSAandJapantaken from the American perspective and was directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood. It is based on the book of the same name written by James Bradley and Ron Powers about the Battle of Iwo Jima, the five Marines and one Navy Corpsman who were involved in raising the flag onIwo Jima, and the after effects of that event on their lives. The sequel, "Letters fromIwo Jima" is from the Japanese viewpoint of the battle, which Eastwood also directed. Both are worth watching people.

Why have I mentioned these 2 films in particular? To show that dependant on what perspective you come from determines your potential viewpoint, which conversely leads me to J Edgar....

History tells us that a young man gets the opportunity to front a new organisation whose task is to ensure that it stems the tide of the perceived threat of Communism potentially sweeping the country of "The free and brave".

Edgar, according to this film is the name his Mum called him (played by Dame Judi Dench) was the man who turned the "Bureau" which only had limited regional powers into an organisation that could pursue the "bad guys" from one state to any state in the federation, hence the all compassing name "The Federal Bureau of Investigation aka "The FBI".

The men who are recruited are the best of the best and quickly earn the name Government Men aka "G-Men" or "G-Man" (and no, I haven't called myself after them but if I told you the real reason of my name then I would have to kill your Budgie!!!)

John Edgar Hoover is the man who embraces the chance and for the next 48yrs he sees off 6 presidents and “nuff” challenges to his authority.

He turns the FBI into the organisation it is today, renowned for its use of scientific advancements, creating a national database incorporating people's fingerprints.

An interesting fact I discovered about J is that he rises to the level of 33rd Degree Mason in the Scottish Rite (which is the top and for your information makes you privy to knowing the truth of who the deity they believe in is and his real name isn't "The Great Architect" which they tell us because that is not a name but rather a title which is similar to the one that was given to Peter Mandelson but I’m digressing again).

Talking about Freemasonry, The other "popular" form of it is the "York Rite" which has 13 levels, similar to the levels on the pyramid on theUSAdollar, but, again, I digress....

J Edgar has been labelled a racist, cross dresser, homosexual and a collector of information that was utilised with the sole aim of extortion and bribery, which by any other name is called "Blackmailing”   (talking about Black male, many have alluded to the accusation that J Edgar had Black blood in him ( see picture).

Now I don't believe I could possibly be accused of writing spoilers in this article because all the info is freely available but, because there's so much written about this truly remarkable man, what eventually ends up in the film will be dependant on the perspective of the Director, who in this case is Clint and what sort of film has Clint made?

Read on my interested companion.....

The Story is told as J Edgar is writing an Imaginary Biography (I say Imaginary because there's no record I could find of this event ever taking place).

This style of narration adopted by Clint in this film is just a variant that is used to tell "The Iron lady's" story but instead of using Margret Thatcher's imaginary conversations with her Deceased at the time husband Denis, Clint uses a biographer (which though isn't an accurate account, I still think is a very clever way of telling a story).

Do bear in mind that the film is as much Clint's viewpoint as opposed to telling an accurate story and that's fine (remember "whoever has the pen, writes his-story).

The film skims over many historical events that take place in American history (think the Civil Rights movement of the 60's, the end of Prohibition in the 20’s, etc). Yes Clint does mention Dr Martin Luther King but doesn't really explore that era. Why? Because it would be a bio-pic exploring the minutia of J.E.H’s life and would last for hours. 

Oh yes, before I forget, J Edgar Hoover is portrayed excellently by Leonardo De Caprio (who in my opinion should be given an Oscar for this performance). Leonardo plays him from a young man right through his life till his death.

I did think that Clint handled the scenes of affection between J.E.H and his assistant Clyde Tolson quite humanely (played excellently by Armie Hammer) and the scenes were sensitively done, hinting without being graphic which I think the makers of "Shame" and "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" would do well to take heed.

Please don't be under the misassumption that I did not enjoy this film because I did but if you are hoping to see the whole of this man's life laid bare then try and find a quality documentary on him.

I have read that some critics have said this film is too long. In my opinion they are wrong, it's too short but “nuff” props to the screen writer Dustin Lance Black who's previous work includes "Milk" which tells the story about the first openly Gay Mayor of San Francisco. For your information G.A.Y which is the popular term that has been adopted worldwide was first coined inSan Franciscoin the 60's and is an acronym meaning "as good as you"

(More about Dustin)...

Dustin grew up as a Mormon and felt great conflict from being a Mormon and G.A.Y which I believe this helped him write about the conflict J Edgar would have had in having secrets and being the "keeper of secrets".....

Not gonna spoil the ending for you but will say that it is very sensitively done.

Do watch this film if you’re a lover of Clint's previous works, don't go if you're into documentary versions of history cause this isn’t History but a great sanitised version of a man who left a huge shadow....

Article by @gmanzen / 23rd January 2012


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Gman's Film Guide