Leonardo DiCaprio is not the first name that springs to mind as the embodiment of legendary FBI director J. Edgar Hoover—unlike, for instance, the title character in the upcoming remake of The Great Gatsby. I give the actor credit for his commitment to this assignment, but he’s still not quite right, especially if you’ve seen any newsreel footage of the bulldog-like Hoover. It’s more difficult to excuse screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and director Clint Eastwood for making such a dull, monotonous biography of one of the 20th century’s most commanding and controversial figures.
Another glaring problem plagues the picture, which spans six decades: while one can (gradually) accept DiCaprio’s aging makeup, and even Naomi Watts’s, it is impossible to invest in any latter-day scene involving Armie Hammer because his old-age makeup is so astonishingly bad. Even if the film were brilliant, and it’s not, this would be a serious stumbling block, for which there is no apparent reason.
As for the dramaturgy, Black takes a nonlinear approach
For a film that is alternately emotional and cerebral, Hereafter grabs your attention with a scene worthy of a high-end disaster movie: an incredible depiction of a Tsunami. Knowing that it’s coming, as many people will from the previews and advertisements, won’t lessen the impact of this tour de force, which is frighteningly believable in every detail.
So how did I luck into a moment of serendipitous spontaneity with Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon, and Morgan Freeman? Allow me to explain. As any media veteran will tell you, participating in movie press junkets...
is not a lot of fun. On the one hand, you get to spend a little time with the world’s most famous movie stars, as well as talented directors and filmmakers. On the other hand, you’re often forcibly reminded that you are merely one tiny cog in a giant machine, as these people are being led through a hundred or more interviews over a two or three-day stretch. Fortunately, Entertainment Tonight has enough clout to arrange for its own room at the junket hotel, so as a reporter you’re not being hustled in and out by someone with a stopwatch. The stars get a break from the confinement of their cocoon and, if you hit it off, they might open up for an extra
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