Rating: PG-13 for sexual innuendo, language and violence
Run Time: 2 hours, 49 minutes
Howard Hughes’ vibrant life makes for a worthy biopic that Martin Scorsese crafts in glamorous style.
Hughes’ idiosyncratic existence is a notorious chapter in the history of both
aviation and high society. From a sickly
child in the oil fields of
Early 1920s. A young, affluent Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) takes his love of cantilevered monoplanes and ungainly cargo-carrying H-4 Hercules’ and makes it personal, determined to break existing air-speed records and land in the record books as the fastest man on the planet.
From that not-so-humble start Hughes turns his introspective eye to film, focusing primarily on the bloated “Hell’s Angels”, a big-budget WWI box-office bomb that requires several years and several million dollars to complete.
way the swells sit up and take notice, from exasperated movie tycoons and
contentious airline CEOs (excellent Alec Baldwin as Pan Am Chairman Juan
Trippe) to equally powerfully
One of the most famous to fall for Hughes’ casual line is Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett), whose straightforward manner and no-nonsense affections appeal to the romantically befuddled Hughes.
As Hughes’ wealth and fame gain ground, so do debilitating indications of mental illness. A deathly fear of germs, severe agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder; all in his head but rigorous roadblocks to Hughes’ grand ambition to own a piece of the skies and make his mark on aviation once and for all.
Scorsese appears to have gained back some behind-the-camera mastery of his older works. Aviator is all spit and polish with melodrama to spare. Though it could do with a trimmer running time and smoother transitions between the incongruous businesses of industry, romance, and aeronautics.
production is a glossy valentine to the glory days of
solid as Hughes, even when he descends into alarmingly bizarre displays of OCD.
Blanchett should expect an Oscar nom for infusing Hepburn with gawky grace and
headlining the film’s memorable let’s-meet-the-parents scene at her family’s
The final act is exceptionally tedious, focusing on lengthy Senate hearings that drag the action to a lull and prevent this intriguing work from breaking out as the masterpiece it could have been.