Reviewer: Jeffrey M. Anderson
Ratings (out of five): ****
Clint Eastwood more or less established the modern-day biopic formula back with Bird (1988), though it was not a formula back then; the proof is that the movie only received one Oscar nomination, for its sound design. Two years ago, Eastwood revisited the biopic genre with the interesting, if not entirely successful Invictus; if anything, that movie simply bit off more than it could chew. Now Eastwood is back with a third biopic, J. Edgar (also on Blu-Ray), and given the first two, there was no reason for high hopes.
However, thanks to a smart script by Dustin Lance Black, who also wrote Gus Van Sant's Milk (2008), and Eastwood's typically understated direction, J. Edgar turns out to be a fascinating portrait, not so much of a man, but of the way that man tried to manipulate his own legacy.
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