Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 34.91%
Worth A Look35.5%
Just Average: 15.38%
Pretty Crappy: 6.51%
Sucks: 7.69%

12 reviews, 97 user ratings

Latest Reviews

We Are Little Zombies by Jay Seaver

Darlin' by Jay Seaver

Astronaut (2019) by Jay Seaver

White Storm 2: Drug Lords, The by Jay Seaver

Vivarium by Jay Seaver

Art of Self-Defense, The by Jay Seaver

Crawl by Peter Sobczynski

Swallow by Jay Seaver

Perfection, The by Rob Gonsalves

Luce by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Aviator, The (2004)
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by David Cornelius

"A phenomenal work, worth every inch of its hype."
5 stars

To call “The Aviator” Martin Scorsese’s best movie in over a decade may seem like a dab of film critic hyperbole or even a smidge of quote mongering. But it is neither - it is, instead, the truth. Scorsese, arguably the most naturally gifted and knowlegable filmmaker working today, has crafted an epic for the ages, a dazzling bit of Hollywood biography that belongs on the short list of his finest works.

The film, the story of billionaire Howard Hughes (his early years, at least), goes places we don’t quite expect. For starters, the casting ignores the modern biopic theory of “cast ‘em if they look like ‘em,” opting instead to find actors who capture the spirit, if not the faces, of the characters. And so we get Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes and Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn. Neither look the part, and yet I can’t imagine anyone else in the roles. Blanchett’s performance is a monument to the Great Kate, in all her independent, pants-wearing glory. And I could care less that Blanchett worked overtime to nail Hepburn’s accent; it’s body language that sells it here, a single stance enough to make me believe that this is Hepburn.

Meanwhile, DiCaprio looks too young for the part, and yet it matters not. What we get from DiCaprio is Hughes’ sense of endless energy and big ideas, as well as his heartbreaking descent into mental illness. When Hughes argues that twenty-four cameras for a single movie were not enough, we’re easily swept up in DiCaprio’s vigor. When he’s working on all cylinders, juggling movie ideas, aviation ideas, and business ideas all at once, we’re getting the sense of a genius at work. And when we watch the stumble into mental illness, we understand the workings of a mind at war with itself. What we get from DiCaprio is more than movie star posturing or biopic impressionism. We get the feeling of urgency that overwhelmed the character. This is DiCaprio’s finest work to date.

But this is not a movie about DiCaprio, no matter how impressive he is on screen. You see, while DiCaprio’s burning this up with his skilled performance, “The Aviator” is Scorsese’s show all the way. Here we have the filmmaker proving yet again that he is a master of his craft, and not even a venture into uncharted territory (this is the first Scorsese film to use sweeping visual effects) can trip him up. There is one reason to see this film, and it is Martin Scorsese.

Watch how effortlessly Scorsese balances character study and film technique. The film is riddled with clever bits of film trickery, most notably the use of color to reveal time. (Scorsese and cinematographer Robert Richardson successfully recreate how color film would look in the era being seen in the film; as the Hughes’ story progresses, the color scheme evolves from a basic to a more modern look. Nifty.) We’re also wowed by camera placement both stationary and free-flowing (the complex tracking shots are always a treat), as well as the expert handling of the arial footage, all of which is simply breathtaking.

And yet Scorsese does not turn this into a showcase for neato camera trickery. Every shot, Scorsese understands, helps tell the story, and so camera placement and editing reveal Hughes’ experience. Consider a dinner scene in which Hughes’ intricately placed peas become unnervingly displaced, or a moment in which Hughes finds himself trapped in the men’s room, unable to leave due to his inability to touch the germ-ridden doorknob. As written, the script alone (a thrillingly complex work by John Logan, by the way) allows the audience to understand the situation with just the right amount of subtlety. But it’s Scorsese’s decisions on how to frame each shot (along with longtime editor and collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker choosing how to present them) that really gets us inside Hughes’ head. Every close up, every cut, every reaction shot from DiCaprio lets us feel the panic attack, right to the core. How many other filmmakers could get the same results, with such skillful precision?

There is much more to be said about “The Aviator,” but there’s also a lot to this movie that just needs to sink in, get digested. It is wonderful to experience in one viewing, to be sure, but there’s just so much here in this epic drama that multiple viewings are a must. This is a film to be watched and discussed repeatedly, a film that will create new opinions upon each viewing, a film that provides both marvelous entertainment and marvelous cinema. In other words, this is a Martin Scorsese picture, among the master’s very best.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11346&reviewer=392
originally posted: 01/07/05 18:44:44
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell long but really good 4 stars
1/11/10 Eric Leo did a good job, great movie if you bother to watch 4 stars
12/23/08 Brap YES 5 stars
3/30/07 David Pollastrini All the women in this film are hot! 3 stars
3/06/07 Frank Rountree Good movie, good history lesson! I liked it. 4 stars
2/18/07 Nick Maday I was drawn in and spellbound from the very beginning. 4 stars
1/04/07 Alice I do not understand the ratings.Nothing special, boring by times. 3 stars
11/25/06 Gwen Stefani? Not a bad film, but I watched it in fast-forward so not too long... 3 stars
9/30/06 Charles Tatum Excellent film, DiCaprio finally wins my grudging respect 5 stars
8/04/06 Agent Sands Another riveting Scorsese biopic. Fantastic in all departments. 5 stars
5/26/06 Steve Newman Great film - 30 mins to long - now going to read how true it all was!! 4 stars
3/17/06 MP Bartley Great acting throughout, brilliantly rendered period detail - a fine departure for Scorsese 4 stars
3/11/06 daveyt enjoyable... 4 stars
3/02/06 Tanya Very good 5 stars
1/07/06 Gerry Dunne good story let down by appalling flying scenes 3 stars
12/28/05 John Dog Superb! 5 stars
11/15/05 Quigley Dicaprio's acting is suberb, but it was too long, and I didn't want to see leo naked. ever. 4 stars
11/04/05 mike winger i was exspecting too see kate beckinsale tits 1 stars
10/11/05 Jennifer Free The movie drags on and on. I actually got bored and didn't finish after an hour and a half 2 stars
8/31/05 herkos akhaion Pointless, looks good, but story is poorly told 2 stars
8/29/05 LS Galvin Amazingly acted, beautifully directed, satisfying biopic! 5 stars
8/27/05 D Buckley Leo should have won best actor 4 stars
8/22/05 ES Cate's roll is wasted here, she should have saved it for a hepburn bio-movie, film stinks 2 stars
8/17/05 shadi The Aviator is a great movie! it`s greater than life & DiCaprio is amazing in it! 5 stars
8/13/05 lozita it rocks! 5 stars
8/12/05 Snicklets Outstanding! Held me captive from beginning to end. Leo DiCaprio shines; Cate wonderful. 5 stars
8/12/05 Dr. Video Excellent acting esp by DiCaprio. 5 stars
7/31/05 RK DiCaprio and Blanchett are excellent 4 stars
7/29/05 Dr. Zoidberg Sugarcoated bullshit; watch Marty sell his balls to the PG-13 crowd! 1 stars
7/26/05 Malaka The film was awesome, it's got everything a movie should be, Great 5 stars
7/26/05 Kankasaur Couldn't ask for more excitement and obsession with detail from Hughes himself 5 stars
7/04/05 Ry Great Movie of great man. It's based on a true story, not a made up script you morons. 5 stars
7/04/05 mariann Dull and boring....We turned it off after 30 minutes. 1 stars
6/22/05 Naka Stunning, intelligent, surprisingly good preformance by DiCaprio. I was enthralled. 5 stars
6/14/05 JFK bad music, boring script, average actings, long movie. Not a best film 3 stars
6/12/05 Agent Sands Long live Scorsese. 5 stars
6/06/05 Anthony G Good 4 stars
6/05/05 R.W. Welch Mostly successful, tho the main characters in this opus are impossible to re-create. 4 stars
6/04/05 Denise Gannon i'm sorry but Leo can't act! he's a FACE. very unbelievable acting by most of cast, too. 1 stars
6/04/05 rohit adhikari it is one of the most beautiful movies i have ever seen . it is a must watch 5 stars
5/31/05 Monday Morning Couldn't decide what kind of film it wanted to be, except "long". VERY disappointing. 3 stars
5/28/05 Saab Rocks Borring and long. There's only three minutes of action, and the movie is three hours long! 2 stars
5/25/05 Jake Fasinating and Entertaining 5 stars
5/01/05 dwarzel Academy awards for doing impressions? 4 stars
4/26/05 hp feel good film - got to watch for martin scorsese and leanardo 4 stars
4/16/05 malcolm pleasantly surprised by dicaprio's performance, otherwise, just not that interesting 3 stars
4/10/05 Bing good but too long 3 stars
4/07/05 Lina Correa Very intense film, great acting by DiCaprio 4 stars
3/30/05 Madeira Pure genius. It could kick Million Dollar Baby's ass any day. 5 stars
3/25/05 Denise great 4 stars
3/23/05 Michael Lloyd Scorsese's finest work since Goodfellas 5 stars
3/23/05 dana Gordon A must see on the big screen 4 stars
3/18/05 Green Grenlim has some exciting moments, but a little overlong 4 stars
3/05/05 Bueller A depressing visual feast. 4 stars
3/05/05 Josh Scorses indulges Leo's need for a "sympathetic" character. Overwrought. 3 stars
3/02/05 enid leo is boring, the film focuses exclusively on him, thus the film is boring. 1 stars
3/02/05 David Tsung pretty boring - not martin's best 3 stars
3/01/05 Pickles Leo is a crap actor, you're not watch hughes youre just watching Leo with an accent, boring 1 stars
2/24/05 Phyllis Kunz Fuckinubelieveable that Alec did not win the nomination for best supporting actor. Fuck! 5 stars
2/19/05 lj worth it for cate blanchett alone--she is marvelous as hepburn 4 stars
2/18/05 Captain Craig Terriffic from start to finish. Leaves one wanting more! 5 stars
2/18/05 susee scorsese, inthe way i never wanted...bio pickin 2 stars
2/18/05 Elza Hudson A heap of junk - very boring. 1 stars
2/16/05 Taylor Fladgate Full of depth and great acting. 4 stars
2/14/05 ELI gonna win best pic. 5 stars
2/13/05 Jeanine Price OK 4 stars
2/13/05 dbx Most boring movie I've ever seen. Leo: not an interesting actor, should have had JohnnyDepp 1 stars
2/12/05 Sylvia Belle interesting biography 5 stars
2/03/05 Mirella Rodriguez Fantastic! The acting is right on. 5 stars
2/03/05 Barbara Long A decent movie, Leo is cool. 4 stars
2/03/05 Agent Sands Scorsese's latest opus is impressive, though not up to par with "Bull," "Fellas," or "Dead. 5 stars
2/03/05 Steve Michaud I'll take "lesser" Scorsese over most of the directors out there any day 4 stars
1/31/05 Danita Berg Leo's best. This movie is NOT Titanic. Thank God. 4 stars
1/31/05 Elena this was incredible. i am in awe. 5 stars
1/28/05 Richard Brandt One is impressed by all Hughes accomplished despite an absolutely debilitating disorder 4 stars
1/28/05 Red Sox Still Suck Leo, Marty & Blanchett deserve Oscars for this great movie 5 stars
1/24/05 bob this movie fucking sucked 1 stars
1/23/05 Janet Pokrinchak Screenplay lacks depth and focus. Just never quite gets there & drags in some places. 3 stars
1/22/05 fred flintstone not again its too painful! 1 stars
1/21/05 Rob McKeown I no longer think of him as de-crap-io, worth a look 4 stars
1/21/05 Uncle Phucker Scorsese's hardcoreness is gone but his brilliant filmmaking is not. Acting was well done. 4 stars
1/14/05 Devin Knox worst movie of the year by far 1 stars
1/10/05 Stacey Peachfuzz Some awesome sequences but rather forgettable as a whole. 3 stars
1/10/05 Obi Wan Leo's best Movie!! Great Movie....didn't seem as long 5 stars
1/09/05 Mel Stark Fantastic. A film truely not to be missed 5 stars
1/08/05 Patti m usually prefer art house films but this movie is exceptional! 5 stars
1/07/05 Gizmo It was enjoyable but I honestly expected more. Blanchett was pretty great, though. 3 stars
1/02/05 Movie Lover so long! 3 stars
1/01/05 Nisha the best performance by Mr. Leo Dicaprio 5 stars
12/30/04 ajay it was pleasent... 4 stars
12/30/04 bobbi good, but only covered a few of his accomplishments 4 stars
12/27/04 Obi Wan WOW, WOW,WOW!! I was truly amazed...I'm at a lost for words how great this movie was! 5 stars
12/23/04 Hugh Janus Leo, Marty & Blanchett deserve Oscars for this great movie 5 stars
12/23/04 Raymond Shaw highly enjoyable cinema. DiCaprio is tremendous! Miss Blanchett runs the gamut of emotions! 5 stars
12/16/04 Ray Pretty good 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  14-Dec-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-May-2005

  19-Dec-2004 (12)

  10-Feb-2005 (M)

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast