Movie Notes: The Aviator
= 4 stars
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Biopic of Howard Hughes, the reclusive airline tycoon, who moves from early failure to success while morphing into an obsessive-compulsive, paranoid recluse.
- Scorsese is one of my favorite directors, and he tries his hand at an epic flick, following the life of larger-than-life historical figure through several decades.
- One brilliant idea was to match film stock to the time period depicted, hence the movie evolves from somber sepia tones through awkward and then glorious color.
- Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn doesn’t quite look the part (her face is much too round and not angular enough) but her performance nailed it perfectly for me, even down to the “ahahaha” laugh while playing a round of golf. She says “Golly!” in an airplane and we feel the head rush.
- Kate Beckinsale seems off as Ava Gardner, who was more of a magnetic, classic beauty. DiCaprio does a really good job but seems a little uncomfortable as Hughes in his later years.
- The dense, linear plot doesn’t leave much space to explore Hughes’ character motivations. The few moments where he’s alone (usually in a bathroom) are golden; it’s a shame they weren’t more of a focus.
The Aviator paints Howard Hughes as a peculiar guy and eccentric businessman, but I don’t really know why he did any of it and least of all, how or why he became a damaged recluse. Still, the film is worth seeing for its masterful direction and a stellar performance from Blanchett. I’d love to see a Hepburn biopic.
IMBD: The Aviator
Wikipedia: The Aviator
Rotten Tomatoes: The Aviator 88%