Monday, October 1, 2007

The Aviator

The Aviator; Drama, USA, 2004; D: Martin Scorsese, S: Leonardo DiCaprio, John C. Reilly, Cate Blanchett, Danny Huston, Kate Beckinsale, Alec Baldwin, Ian Holm, Alan Alda, Gwen Stefani, Matt Ross, Adam Scott, Jude Law, Brent Spiner, Willem Dafoe, Frances Conroy

Howard Hughes inherits a huge fortune after his parents died when he was 19. He comes to Hollywood and directs "Hell's Angels" first as a silent, then as a sound movie, and invests then astronomical 3.8 million $ during the period of 3 years. He falls in love with Katharine Hepburn who leaves him after some time, and then Ava Gardner. He also adores airplanes and spends a large part of his fortune to build new, improved models, including a super transport aircraft called 'Hercules' that would help in the World War II. With time obsessive-compulsive disorder and paranoia gets a hold of him, while his airline TWA gets unloyal competition from Pan Am that wants to get a monopoly in the airplane industry by bribing senator Brewster. Hughes stands the inquiry at the commission.

Howard Hughes was a fascinating person, one of those good kind of eccentrics and outsiders that bravely pursued their visions, and even though director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter John Logan showed only a glimpse of his life, in the 30s and 40s, their biography "The Aviator", winner of 4 BAFTAs (including best film), 3 Golden Globes (including best motion picture - drama) and 5 Oscars, is a quality film with a lot of interesting insight. Despite the fact that the story is slightly pretentious and annoying at moments, especially in the exposition where it plays with the cliche of "a cute hyperactive hero who does two things at once" and the rather pointless idea that the first third gets shot with 'emulated' blue colors as a "homage" to Multicolor process of Hughes' films, the film is despite it's running time of 166 minutes never overlong, but constantly engaging, while Leonardo DiCaprio is excellent in the complex leading role, even in such tricky scenes where Hughes searches for "clouds that look like breasts" for his film or his increasing hypochondria, hearing problem and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Cate Blanchett is a talented actress and gives her best shot in the story, but that all can't hide the fact that she doesn't look nowhere near like Katharine Hepburn as seems rather miscast in her role, but that isn't that important when the film is actually intriguing, especially in Hughes' verbal clash with the Senator Brewster during his commission hearing, which is the highlight of the entire film. Hughes' life is obviously too complex and too long to fit into a normal film, but this is still an interesting try.


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