way of future..."
Wanting to distance himself from his family business, Howard
Hughes (DiCaprio) decides to invest a large amount of his great fortune
into a movie like no one had ever seen in 1920s. After nearly three years
in production and a budget of over $4 million dollars "Hell's Angels' hits
the big screen. An instant hit, the movie thrusts Hughes into the limelight
and introduces him to the Hollywood glitterazzi. It also gives him the opportunity
to pursue his real passion, aviation. Breaking speed and distance records,
Hughes decides to take on PAN-AM's domination of the international skies
with his own airline TWA. This raises interest from the Congress, who starts
to scrutinise his business practises. As pressure starts to build, Hughes'
own insecurities start to emerge and threaten to take over his life.
Whatever the subject matter, a Martin Scorsese movie is always
one to sit up and take notice of but after a few misfires, can 'The Aviator'
put him back on the right flight plan?
Charting the life of one of American's most creative and
troubled entrepreneurs, The Aviator shows you the triumphs and the madness
of Howard Hughes. An instantly intriguing figure, Hughes' rise to prominence
is a fascinating watch. This is a departure from the norm for Scorsese,
as his moves away from his born on the streets, everyman story, to chronicling
the life of one of the richest men in America during the middle of the 20th
century. He excels in this decadent time however and takes you into old
Hollywood, when glitz and glamour oozed from everywhere and the streets
where really paved with gold.
We start in 1927, as Hughes begins work on his motion picture
epic 'Hell's Angels'. Here we are introduced to his obsessive tendencies
and his craving for authenticity as he pushes his staff to their limits
over three years, even re-shooting the picture for sound after watching
the Jazz Singer. We see a driven visionary who was about to take the world
by storm, but then the cracks start to show. From the premiere of his movie
onwards we witness Hughes' paranoid obsessive-compulsive behaviour start
to take over him. Like a simmering plot on the verge of boiling over, Hughes
continues to push himself and his finances to the limit. We see his gift
and love for aviation. A true pioneer in both design and flying, he single-handedly
advanced aeronautics in the early 1930s, breaking speed and distance records.
He also designed and flew some of the most advanced planes of the era. Becoming
just as famous as the film stars he socialised with and romanced, Hughes
was the true definition of a millionaire playboy but all the time his psychological
problems were simmering away.
Bringing this extravagant and troubled character to life on
the silver screen was never going to be an easy task for any actor but Leonardo
DiCaprio succeeds magnificently. Unfairly labelled as a 'pretty boy' by
some, DiCaprio is one of the most interesting and talented actors of his
generation. Always choosing challenging projects and never pandering to
the Hollywood system, DiCaprio has always been an actor to watch and he
is becoming a master at his craft. As Howard Hughes he really gets to show
his range. This is a complex, troubled character that is filled to the brim
with confidence one minute and in the grip of full blown paranoia in another.
DiCaprio portrays this magnificently, capturing every nuance of Hughes'
DiCaprio is supported by some magnificent performances. The
always-excellent Cate Blanchett gives a remarkable performance as Hollywood
screen icon Katharine Hepburn. She captures the essence of the screen goddess
precisely, down to her voice, mannerisms and confidence. Kate Beckinsale
is also very good as Ava Gardner, easing into the starlet's grace and vigour
superbly. John C. Reilly is as good as ever as Hughes' financial manager
and confidant Noah Dietrich. Alec Baldwin and Alan Alda shine as PAN-AM
owner Juan Trippe and Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster and there are noticeable
appearances by Ian Holm, Jude Law and Gwen Stefani.
As you'd expect, director Martin Scorsese and his crew deliver
a visual feast for the eye. The colour pallet for movie is astounding, capturing
the advances in film production through the 20s to the 40s. We move from
pastel shades to glorious Technicolor, as the director throws one exquisite
sequence after another at you. The flying sequences are exhilarating, from
Hughes's recording of the dogfights for 'Hell's Angels' to his disastrous
test flight of spy plane prototype. This has to be one of Scorsese's best
looking movies he has ever produced, and that is saying something.
The Aviator is a fascinating insight in to the troubled world
of an extraordinary man. The only problem the movie has is that it only
covers around twenty years of his life and for those who don't know his
story will be wondering what happened to him after the end credits role.
This aside, this is an outstanding biopic that sees a true return to form
for one of America's great filmmakers.
A Life Without Limits: The Making Of The Aviator
The Role Of Howard Hughes In Aviation History
Modern Marvels: Howard Hughes, A Documentary By The History Channel
The Affliction Of Howard Hughes: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
OCD Panel Discussion with Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and Hughes'
widow Terry Moore
The Visual Effects Of The Aviator
Constructing The Aviator: The Work Of Dante Ferretti
Costuming The Aviator: The Work Of Sandy Powell
The Age Of Glamour: The Hair And Makeup Of The Aviator
Scoring The Aviator: The Work Of Howard Shore
The Wainwright Family: Loudon, Rufus and Martha
An Evening With Leonardo DiCaprio & Alan Alda
The Usher Home
| Hush, Hush... | The
Big Story | The Usher Speaks
@ Home | Coming Soon | Links
| Contact the Usher