Clint Eastwood is a brilliant filmmaker. We know this. Just take a look at Million Dollar Baby (2004) or his World War II films Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and Letters From Iwo Jima (2006). I had to remind myself of this fact throughout J. Edgar (2011).
Like Invictus (2009), this is a slow-paced film. Eastwood is not in a hurry to get you somewhere. But that’s part of Eastwood’s storytelling—getting you there—the journey. This slow-paced storytelling makes you pay attention to the camera angles, the shades of light, the seemingly random inclusions in the camera shot, and so on. We are hanging on through it all for the good parts.
As Eastwood weaves this tale through the shadows of Hoover’s complex life visually, I expected a juicy political drama. That’s what I was waiting for. Instead I got a tale about relationships. A somewhat unexpected tale.