I’ve always found Leonardo DiCaprio a somewhat rigid actor, but that’s a quality that should serve him well playing J. Edgar Hoover, in what looks to be a handsome biopic directed by Clint Eastwood.
It looks like Eastwood is going with the interpretation that Clyde Tolson was Hoover’s lover, or at least the emotional center of his life, and planning to explore the impact of Hoover’s closetedness on his spying on people like Eleanor Roosevelt in hopes he’d be able to exploit fears similar to his own and blackmail them. But one hopes, especially given that Eastwood is going around talking about what a libertarian he is, that the movie mounts a broad-based critique of Hoover’s violations of civil liberties and chilling influence on American life. It’s really not enough to say that J. Edgar Hoover spied on us because his mother was mean to him. And it’s important to remind viewers that there is this authoritarian strain in American life, that domestic surveillance is a recurring tendency we need to consistently resist.