Reviews & Previews - The Aviator

Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 at 06:00 PM

The Aviator

By: S. Tran

Starring: Leonardo Dicaprio, Cate Blanchett, John C. Reilly
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Running Time: 170 Minutes
Rated: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, nudity, language.

Mo' Money Mo' Troubles

This week we look at The Aviator, one of the biggest films of 2004 recently released to DVD. The movie is a biopic of the life of Howard Hughes, the eccentric millionaire, that did fairly well in the theatres when it was released.

Leonardo Dicaprio teams up with Scorsese again to play Hughes in all his blustery younger glory and in his creepy Mr. Smithers phase later on in life. While I am not a fan of Dicaprio I have to give credit where its due as he does a pretty good job in the film. He still looked to young and nave to play such a charismatic tycoon but if you could get past his looks he does bring real life to Hughes. The supporting cast here is all solid as well. Cate Blanchett is a bit strange as Katherine Hepburn but I don't know enough about the real Hepburn to know whether she did a great job or went over the top. You can decide that for yourself.

Don't think for a moment though that this is some boring look at Hughes the man. As much as anything this film is a tribute the Hughes the legend. In real life Hughes was bigger than life and that's reflected in the film here. We don't just hear about his triumphs, we see them in all their glory. We also see his failures and his battles, both externally and internally. This is part of the reason for the movie being almost 3 hours long, nothing it seems, has been left out.

The film also showcases Scorsese's film making at its best. Not even the small moments in the film are underdone, there is always some element in the scene where Scorsese is demonstrating to the audience that he can do anything on film. Whether it is the strange blue grass in the background or the incredible dog fight re-creation in the beginning of the film; visually, the movie grabs your attention.

Much like Hughes' real life though this story loses steam near the end. In trying to give us so much we get a little tired during the last third of the movie. Seeing Hughes decline into madness really doesn't work as a climax to a movie. This is compounded by comparing the slow second half to the manic energy of Hughes during his prime in the first half of the movie which carries you along. Once that energy is gone you lose a bit of interest.

The Aviator is an interesting film that is worth checking out on dvd if you have some time.


3 out of 5 stars.


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to