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Overall Rating
3.83

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

12 reviews, 97 user ratings


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Aviator, The (2004)
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by Abhishek Bandekar

"Hell's Angel"
4 stars

Howard Hughes was in many ways similar to Charles Foster Kane, the enigmatic and imposing central character of Orson Welles’s legendary masterpiece ‘Citizen Kane’. The fact that Kane was modelled on media-mogul William Randolph Hearst is not relevant to this review. Like Kane, Howard inherited a large sum of money and found himself at a very young age, equally the richest and the loneliest man in the world. Both were visionaries who always dreamt big. Hughes even had a fascination for large breasts! Both set out after pursuits that seemed stupid and reckless to everybody but themselves. And they both always succeeded. Both amassed large fortunes and attracted media attention. And sadly, both of them didn’t know when to stop! While Kane ended up as a lonely millionaire, Hughes suffered from a more terrifying descent into madness.

In Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Aviator’, we are not made privy to Howard Hughes’s disturbing later life. In that sense it is a rather shallow biopic. But when viewed as a movie, it is as complete as complete can get. ‘The Aviator’ doesn’t try to delve into the life of its lead character but rather concentrates on one chapter in his life, a ploy employed by the recent ‘Finding Neverland’. But unlike ‘Finding Neverland’, ‘The Aviator’ doesn’t take cinematic liberty and tamper with the facts. John Logan’s screenplay introduces us to a young Howard Hughes(Leonardo DiCaprio) working on his ambitious ‘Hell’s Angels’ which took over three years and three million dollars to make. A rank outsider, he is ridiculed by the reigning tycoons for using twenty-six cameras to perfect a shot. Hughes completes the film, then reworks it with sound, before eventually releasing it to universal acclaim. Hughes goes on a roller-coaster of popularity, popping flash bulbs, acquisition deals with TWA and talked about high-profile romances with famous leading ladies. The most significant of his dalliances is with Katharine Hepburn(Cate Blanchett). Not only do we sense a real admiration and possible love between the two, but this interlude is also the most enjoyable portion of the movie. Hughes’s visit to Hepburn’s family estate in Connecticut establishes as the best scene overall. The Hepburn-Hughes relationship doesn’t work probably because they were too similar to each other, both equally headstrong individuals.

Concomitantly, obsessive compulsive disorder(OCD) begins to cast its shadow on Hughes. We witness this rich man rendered helpless in a public washroom as he awaits someone to enter so that he can leave without having to touch the doorknob which he fears is not germ-free! His bouts worsen as he begins to repeat words uncontrollably and quarantines himself in a room where he walks around naked, mumbling, and pisses into empty milk bottles. But Hughes manages to curb his eccentricities and restores himself for a congressional hearing which will determine the future of his aviation company(his mammoth plane Hercules especially) against Juan Trippe(Alec Baldwin) and his Pan-Am airways. Hughes fights it out with the wily Senator Brewster(Alan Alda) and defeats him in a battle of wits. Hughes successfully flies his Hercules, but we see his OCD still looming upon him. Scorsese and Logan refuse to take us any further. We don’t get to see Hughes succumbing to his madness and dying in a hotel room, at the age of 71, with his hair unkempt and nails unclipped!

Leonardo DiCaprio is not an obvious choice to play Howard Hughes, but he essays his part brilliantly. His struggle to hide his imperfections and keep them in check is very convincing. Cate Blanchett’s performance as Hepburn is one that you can’t describe in words. She is simply put- amazing, and truly deserving of an Oscar. Another person deserving the statuette is Robert Richardson. His cinematography elevates the movie from a simple biopic to an intriguing character study.

Puritans might argue that by removing the darker facet of Hughes’s life, Scorsese has tried to sanitize a fallen figure. Rather, Scorsese doesn’t make any excuses for the way Howard was. Scorsese never apologizes for his characters, be it ‘Raging Bull’ or ‘Taxi Driver’. The denouement of this movie somewhat lends it a haunting feel. As Trippe says of Hughes in the movie, “People should remember him as he was”. And Hughes was ultimately a visionary, a creator and an aviator! Reviewed on the 18th, February 2005.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11346&reviewer=398
originally posted: 04/06/05 01:42:29
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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
5/14/08 PAUL SHORTT AN AIR BRUSHED PORTRAIT OF A REPULSIVE BILLIONAIRE 1 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
6/25/05 em BOOOOOORRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIING 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Dec-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-May-2005

UK
  19-Dec-2004 (12)

Australia
  10-Feb-2005 (M)




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