Martin Scorsese hits his stride and solidifies his relationship with actor, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator (2004)—the story of Howard Hughes. Although Scorsese had been making fantastic films for the entirety of his then 30+ year career, a true parade of blockbuster epics both costing and netting hundreds of millions of dollars is now the only expectation from the director. Coming off of Gangs of New York (2002) and continuing with The Aviator, Scorsese adapts like no other. By taking on the digital age with elaborate camera movement, complex crane and dolly setups, and wild special effects, Scorsese makes a movie for a massive audience. While in this new era of cinema, Scorsese still implements his well-received old style of moviemaking in all of his films, making it no different for The Aviator.
Being considered Hollywood’s last movie star (Siegel) Leonardo DiCaprio depicts another star in the form of Howard Hughes, a 1930s/40s icon. Hughes, a billionaire public figure, dabbles in all sorts of different fields and industries by throwing his money at a variety of passions, creations, and inventions… basically our version of Elon Musk! Hughes coins himself many titles such as a director of big-budget Hollywood movies like Hell’s Angel’s (1930). He's a loving, playboy in his own regards, involving himself with famous females like Katharine Hepburn (played by Cate Blanchett) and Ava Gardner (played by Kate Beckinsale); and finally, an aviation tycoon and pioneer who helped construct Trans World Airlines into a thriving business. Sounds like the ideal life, right? Wrong. Hughes suffers from debilitating phobias, depression, and many other unhealthy mental states that cause him to spiral into a downfall, ultimately deciding his fate.
Initially, The Aviator comes off as a movie about Hollywood life and all its luxury and glamor. After a closer look, you realize Scorsese is only focused on a character study of Howard Hughes and his crippling behavior. The performances given by the actors, and specifically Leo, are a once in a lifetime showcase. When accompanied by the dazzling cinematography and score/soundtrack, it makes for an unbeatable mixture, just like many of Scorsese’s films before. Again, the only downfall is the fact that the film is a tad too long. However, The Aviator hooks you from the start, keeps you intrigued for the majority of the 170-minute runtime, and creates an eventful experience for what is moviegoing.
Story/Plot – 17/20 Direction – 20/20 Acting - 19/20
Cinematography – 20/20 Score/Soundtrack – 17/20
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