I was regretting my decision to watch the Aviator (rent on Amazon Instant)before it started when I noticed that it was set at a 3 hour run time. This is the third movie out of five so far that is at or over the 3 hour mark. This isn’t my full time job so I’m working around my life as a teacher and I was assuming this to be challenging with the normal runtime of 2 hours or less. However, ten minutes into the movies I was reminded of my favorite quotes, “I know that I am wise, because I know that I know nothing.” I often think myself as knowledgeable on many topics, but I found out how little I knew about Howard Hughes.
This biopic directed by Martin Scorsese and written by John Logan has a 7.5 out of 10 starts on IMDB and 87% on Rotten Tomatoes was a very interesting look into the man that was Howard Hughes. A director, producer, a huge support of airplanes, and a visionary who also happens to suffer from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Not uncommon for Martin Scorsese to pay tribute to the filmmakers that came before him, his movie Hugo for example, seeing Hell’s Angels three year production and 4 million dollars cost in the 1930’s is crazy. Hughes made the film he wanted and it was a success.
Hughes story is very tragic as the man appears to be an honorable individual who doesn’t let anything stand in his way, but seems to try and abide by the laws. Not everything he does is necessarily ethical, especially the implications of his numerous underage girlfriends, but his goals seem noble in some capacity.
Scorsese’s subtle introduction to the oddity of the way Hughes sees the world first became blatantly apparently one his golf trip with Katharine Hepburn, played by Cate Blanchett, where the greens are an odd shade of blue. Initially, as I was trying to get some work done during the first hour of the film, I thought maybe the color was off on the TV. I couldn’t make sense as to why the color was what it was, but it fixed in the next scene. I started wondering why, then Hughes peas were blue next to his steak. A steak in which he seem disturbed by and couldn’t eat. The beat field that would essential pad his fall was full of blue leaves and the reds more vibrant than usually, I knew that this was intentional.
Hughes OCD is introduced as mild initially and grows exponentially throughout the film. His love for Katharine was shown to the audience when he wasn’t afraid of her germs despite his clear fear of them in every other aspect of his life, including the cellophane on the steering wheel. The layers in this film are done nicely.
There is a scene where Hughes is desperately washing his hands to the point he causes himself to bleed. The cinematography in this scene reminded me of Scorsese’s short film, The Big Shave. It was interesting to see similar points of view in this scene from the short as it depicted the insanity the character was going through.
I was engrossed through most of the film as DiCaprio again does a marvelous job. The performances that he has given in most of Scorsese’s films implies great direction from Scorsese as well as the talent that DiCaprio possesses. That said, the film kind of ends abruptly, and I was expecting the traditional white text on black background to give me the rest of the story…only it didn’t come.
I feel like a character as strong as Hughes needs to be wrapped to completion. This film did force me to do some more reading on Howard Hughes and I have a new appreciation for a person I’d only heard in passing. The film isn’t perfect, but it’s a good one. I give it a 6 out of 10 stars and definitely recommend you check this one out.