The Aviator is a biography film released in 2004 and directed by Martin Scorsese. It depicts around three decades of the life of multitasking billionaire Howard Hughes.
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The Aviator tells the story of notorious mogul Howard Hughes (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), from the making of his war epic film, Hell’s Angels, to the flight of his gigantic flying boat, Hercules.
In his personal life, we watch his romances with Katharine Hepburn (played by Cate Blanchett), Faith Domergue (played by Kelli Garner), and Ava Gardner (played by Kate Beckinsale) and his severe Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
And in business, his partnerships with Noah Dietrich (played by John C. Reilly) and Jack Frye (played by Danny Huston). And his rivalry with competitor aviation businessman Juan Trippe (played by Alec Baldwin).
Among many other events.
To be honest, I wasn’t very excited to watch The Aviator. Despite the stellar cast, several wins at the Oscars, and (probably) the best director alive today, the film is 2 hours and 50 minutes long. I was tired even before pressing the play button.
So, I decided to watch it in two sittings. Watch one half, pause to watch the NBA Playoffs, then watch the other half. Doing it this way, I was able to enjoy the whole movie without getting too out of patience.
That being said, the story presented in the movie is not really compelling. Howard Hughes had a very fascinating life. He was rich as fuck and fulfilled many grand deeds, but in the film, most of it was bland until getting close to the last act.
The portrayal of events was: Hughes has a vision of a project; he pays people to do it to perfection; in case of any difficulty, pay more to solve it. Not even his OCD poses any conflict in his journey until almost the end.
The lack of struggles makes the movie appear kinda bland and sometimes even a little boring. Fortunately, the film’s mood is very upbeat, full of funny scenes that entertain us enough to keep us watching. So it didn’t feel like a sacrifice to resume watching after the playoffs.
I know how it is to feel like your only watching something because you’re supposed to. There will be some movies in this Oscars series that will prove my point. However, The Aviator is not one of them, especially because of its light and comic tone.
The characters are not the best as well. What I liked was the relationship between some of them, usually with Howard Hughes. My favorite was the one with Katharine Hepburn, but another one was with Glenn Odekirk (played by Matt Ross).
There are movies with an outstanding cast that end up as an absolute failure, such as Movie 43, but that’s not the case with The Aviator. The stellar cast translates into the best overall performances of all of the films of that year’s Oscars.
The best is Cate Blanchett, who actually won the award, and Leonardo DiCaprio, who would only win many years later, in 2016. However, everyone around them do a fascinating job as well.
As usual, Cate Blanchett is so fascinating in every scene she’s in. Such a brilliant actress. I’m fond of her talent since I was a child watching The Lord of the Rings.
Most of the same can be said about DiCaprio. Just as I said about Paul Giamatti on the Sideways review, apply to him, as well, and I like DiCaprio even more.
In The Aviator, DiCaprio has the mannerisms of people of the 30s and 40s but softened enough to don’t look ridiculous. I prefer this concise type of acting to some over-the-top ones like The Wolf of Wall Street.
What surprised me was Alan Alda’s indication for the supporting actor Oscar. I didn’t think he was bad in any way, shape, or form. But, to be a nominated performance, I think is too much.
The Aviator is visually marvelous in every single aspect, deserving the Academy Awards it got for cinematography, art direction, and costume design. I love how gorgeous the movie is. It’s pure perfection.
I liked a lot the use of music in the film. The songs are in harmony (no pun intended) with the times the movie is set, mostly Jazz. The highlight for me was the gypsy Jazz of Django Reinhardt.
The Aviator is such a marvelously crafted movie in so many aspects. It’s even hard to point out any flaw, and there was only one thing I dislike about the film, but just enough to not be my favorite movie of the 2005 Oscars. I’ll give The Aviator 8 Moons.
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