About a year ago, I tried to watch the Alec Guinness mini-series version of TTSS, but when there was no dialogue, or anything else to tell viewers what was happening, for the first half hour, I became board and lost interest. Recently, I heard Gary Oldman's portrayal of agent Smiley was faster paced, so I gave it a shot. IT IS 2 hours instead of 4 hours (I think), but the pace was still dirt slow and boringly cerebral. And before you say, "It's supposed to be a thought provoking mystery," you should understand that I had all 3 bad guys picked out in the first 20 minutes with NO difficulty at all.
I wanted to see this movie, mostly because I couldn't get through the gibberish heavy book. Yes, I know people loved the book, but so much time was spent explaining how Salander got her job and who she wouldn't screw that I couldn't get into the story, and I gave up.
The movie did get right into the story, and was more successful than the book in that regard. The acting was grade A as well. My problem was that with scenes of brooding characters, rape, and torture it was just dark and heavy for almost the entire 2 hours 37 minute runtime.
Still, that's what the story was, and the movie told the story well.
This is a superbly acted tear jerker of a drama. Matt King (George Clooney) is a husband and father, who's world crashes in on him all at once. BOOM! He's given two Earth shattering pieces of news at the same time, either of which would tempt many men to crawl into a bottle and stay sauced. However, Matt digs in and struggles to deal with the duel bombshells, be there for his daughters, and close a land deal on behalf of his extended family.
Since "Sideways" was the last Alexander Payne movie I saw, I had my doubts about "Descendants." I'm glad I saw it though. Clooney did a brilliant job playing King as a flawed, but sympathetic, character the audience could really pull for. If Clooney doesn't win the Oscar for Best Actor, then the award is meaningless.
In "J. Edgar," we see an aging Hoover, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, dictating a memoir of his early career, beginning with the bombing of 1919 and progressing through the Lindbergh Baby Trial. Between depictions of dictated chapters, the audience watches a weathered version of Hoover try to hold onto power and polish his legacy during the; Kennedy, Johnson, and early Nixon; administrations.
This film humanized the historic power monger, by showing him at his most vulnerable. While Hoover was commandingly dominant in the professional realm, DiCaprio played him as being submissive toward his domineering mother, played by Judi Dench. We also see him as being awkward around women, as he constantly wrestles with his sexuality.
What I found interesting, were the plot points Director Clint Eastwood chose to gloss over. While much was made of the homosexual relationship with Agent Clyde Tolson, played by Arnie Hammer, almost no mention of Hoover's propensity to cross-dress was made, except for a scene which was more about him saying goodbye to his mother than his sexual proclivities. Likewise, while the movie documented the prosecution's physical evidence in the Lindbergh case, the film failed to mention the fact that Charles Lindbergh was an Eugenicist and Nazi sympathizer who may have killed his own birth defected child.
All in all, this was a balanced, superbly acted, look at J. Edgar Hoover's life, which neither glorified or vilified the founder of the F.B.I. I give "J. Edgar" 4 out of 5 stars.