This is not a truly awful film, but in the end, it doesn’t one through.
Predictably reliable critic site “Rotten Tomatoes” (www.rottentomatoes.com) gave it a 41 on the Tomatometer, which is tantamount to saying it’s pretty bad but not actually stinking up the theater. There aren’t many lower ratings from RT. “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn part 1” rated a miserable 10 and this clearly shows that the millions of fans supporting this silly crap don’t read reviews. But RT outdid itself for Adam Sandler’s “Jack and Jill” with a rating of 4. Yes, four (“Impossible to recommend on any level whatsoever”). The only review I have ever seen worse was back in the 80s “Stayin’ Alive” (Travolta and Stallone), a film so bad it was described as a vision of the end of film as a viable art form.
But I digress.
This film seemed a lead pipe cinch to succeed. The primary character is historically interesting, Leo DiCaprio is an excellent actor and Clint Eastwood’s directing is as good as it gets. But the film just moves from event to event without any real examination of the human aspect or the politics, all of which would have been much more interesting, and for which both DiCaprio and Eastwood are very capable of expertly exploring. The portrayal of Hoover’s sexual ambiguity was portrayed equally ambiguously. The extent of the film is mostly a dry laundry list of Hoover’s triumphs and failures, most of which doesn’t generate much interest from viewers.
This mediocre effort shows that the chemistry of a good film is not dependent entirely on the actors, production or director. It’s chemistry fraught with mystery. Some of the best films contained actors no one ever heard of and a journeyman director. A similar effort in the past that couldn’t lose was Ishtar (1987). A-list actors Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty. It’s so synonymous with high profile flops that when “Waterworld” proved disastrous, critics called it “Fishtar”. Roger Ebert gave it half a star. Never released on DVD.
Best feature: The aging process makeup was pretty well done.
Worst feature: The audience never connects with the protagonist.
I give it two of five Awkward smooches on the mouth (Don’t dwell on it) and that’s a gift. Wait for Netflix if you haven’t dumped Netflix already.