Historical fiction – Over the years we have seen many biographical films come and go; some more true than others, but in them all lies one common goal, telling a story that many of us never knew.  Sure, those obsessed with history or in this case, the F.B.I., might know more, but the rest of us will just be along for the ride. And that’s fine by me, as possibly knowing more about J. Edgar Hoover would have taken some of the ‘wonder ‘away from what I felt was a fascinating film to watch and learn from.  What’s it about? For what’s clearly a life difficult to put into words, writer Dustin Lance Black chose to take a piece from Hoover’s career as FBI director from the coveted Palmer Raids on.  While that might leave out what helped shape the man that many people still do not know a whole lot about, I think it was the right choice. Here, we see J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) deep into his mission to create an organization that would help protect the U.S. like none before it.  By creating forensic laboratories and centralizing a fingerprint filing system, Hoover was able to pretty much put a stamp on how crime would be fought forever.  But, that brilliance was often met with plenty of scrutiny, as Hoover fought to build an organization that no one thought was possible. And helping him along the way was his right-hand man Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) who we later find out to be Hoover’s own hidden secret. But, where no criminal would scare him, what did get to Hoover were all the hidden truths of his personal life and sexuality.  Having to constantly “play along,” Hoover could never be himself, so when he was able to be alone and get away from it all, he chose to be with Clyde Tolson.  And that was the heart of this story, which became more and more complicated the longer you watched, only in a very unusual and innocent way.Who was in it? Well, there’s no needbeat around the bush, this cast pretty much starts and ends with Leonardo DiCaprio. That’s not saying there wasn’t a host of other great stars, because there were, but this film’s fate will lie on what Leo was able to do with the role as J. Edgar. Not that we have a whole lot to compare it to, this role is different than anything I have seen Leo do, and that says something from a guy who broke onto the scene in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”  He was great and frankly well deserving of an Oscar nod despite any critics that are saying otherwise.  So, I hope he gets it and goes onto win, as it would be well worth it given the effort he clearly put into this role. Leo was Hoover as I often got lost within the character he built and mastered for this film.  But, he wasn’t alone, as plenty of talent was on board to help with the great Judi Dench leading the way. Sure, she might not have been on the screen that much, but that’s never stopped her from making you remember her character before and it certainly didn’t deter you from loving every word that came out of her mouth here.  Adding to Dench was Armie Hammer, who many know from last year’s “The Social Network” and Naomi Watts, who I liked, but didn’t love.Unforgiving directing – Many may not know what “J. Edgar”  is truly about and even after watching it, I’m a little fuzzy. But, I think that’s part of what Clint Eastwood wanted, as this is yet another story that many people probably didn’t know or ever bothered to read into. I like that and the fact Clint brings us these kinds of films, as it’s always fun to learn a little history, fact or fiction.  And for him to bring this kind of story to the big screen says a lot about the man I have grown to appreciate since he started putting all his focus into directing.  I know he has directed films since the early seventies, but that part of his career didn’t take off for me until after the Oscar-winning film “Unforgiven” in 1992. Really, ever since then Clint has been growing as a director and the past eight years proves that effort as we always seem to have one of this films on the Oscar ballots.  Sure, this film wasn’t perfect by any means, but I can still see it being nominated in the bigger categories. Which ones might be any guess, but certainly there was enough of what you want and need from a potential Oscar nominee. Maybe not in the makeup category, which definitely fell short with the lack of effort put into Naomi Watts and Armie Hammer. So, if this film somehow manages that nomination, it will be for the 4 hours put into Leo’s face each new day on the set. With that said, I really can’t fault this film for a whole lot, given the absorbing and untold story featured.  Bottom Line – For anyone that thought Clint Eastwood would never direct a film that features some level of homosexuality, raise your hand. No offense to the legendary actor/director, but this was the last film I thought he would do given the core subject at hand.  So, to see what he did with it and walk away learning something, both from a historical and political realm was a nice treat. B  To read more from Marcus, click here