The movie plays through the eyes of John Edgar Hoover himself - delivering his account of his meteoric rise to the top to a litany of dictation-takers - the moment one doesn't answer Hoover's questions to his liking - replaced. Hoover's life was wholly influenced by two people: his ironhanded mother (another Oscar-nom, Judi Dench) and right-hand man Clyde Tolson (the hat trick of Oscar-noms, Armie Hammer) - in fact, the exploration of those two relationships are the very core of "Edgar". Much has been made of Hoover's private life and how it would be portrayed in the film - let's put it this way, writer Dustin Lance Black (Milk) has a very distinct take. Hoover and Tolson's close relationship is not just explored - it's exposed. We are clearly lead to believe that Hoover was a closeted homosexual - even if he never "acted" on it. That interpretation is what's going to be at the heart of the inevitable debates over just how accurate "J. Edgar" is.
With a runtime of 150 minutes - "J. Edgar" is plagued by some meandering moments, but when you attempt to pack a historical figure's life into one parcel like director Clint Eastwood has so adroitly done (in a film shoot of 39 days no less) - it's a prodigious task to prevent. Regardless of how you feel about the film's vision of Hoover's private life, you have to respect "J. Edgar" for the conviction of its depiction - very much like the resolve of the despotic man it so vividly portrays.