John Edgar Hoover seems to have been a very interesting man — he more or less created the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with its criminal science methodology as well as the administrative processes. However, the man also had a different side: one of craving power and one ready to go to all lengths to keep himself in the top. For Mr Hoover, there was nothing else except the top.
Clint Eastwood’s movie, ‘J. Edgar’, wishes to bring light to this man, and I would say he succeeds quite well. Throughout the movie, we are introduced to a young J. Edgar who is building the Bureau while being kept in the loop of the story by the old J. Edgar — with the old man juggling Presidents and Attorney Generals to keep himself at his ‘meant’ position.
What I maybe appreciated most in the entire movie was the scene near the end where Clyde Tolson and J. Edgar Hoover were talking about the book that the Director recited for the majority of the film. That scene is a perfect introduction to the question of what is truth and how we find it, and it serves as a warning to anything we may learn from others: for inevitably there has been some sort of bias in the story and it can be quite difficult in trying to figure out where that bias lies.
I am also quite taken in by the way ‘loyalty’ was portrayed in this movie. Nearly any action could be taken as a betrayal by the man in charge, so how would truthfulness and honesty be known? Can we even talk of loyalty in a situation like this? It would seem to me that a man who is as J. Edgar was portrayed in the movie would have a few really good friends — and in these his trust would be unlimited. And, yet, that is not quite what we see: at different points he still mistrusts everyone around himself, and I think that to be a refreshing look.
For it is a look of fear. With nothing set in stone, everything can change at the press of one button or the mention of one word. It is not often that the main character is both as strong and as paranoid as the one we have in this movie, and I think that makes for a very positive difference when watching ‘J. Edgar’.