Monday, August 23

Review: The Aviator

I think some apologies are in place.

First, it is my turn to apologize. In the past I have called Martin Scorsese an overrated director. I was wrong about that. Mister Scorsese, Martin, I'm sorry. Just because I didn't like the subject of some of your (earlier) movies gave me no reason to overlook the skill with which you handled it. It took an unusual movie to see it, but I'll say it right here, right now: Martin Scorsese is one of the best.

Secondly, I want every single person reading this to think very hard. Have you ever said Leonardo DiCaprio was a bad actor, just because he was in Titanic? If so, I want you to say sorry. Out loud. Now.
I am amazed how many people still call the man out one bad movie, despite the fact that he made almost only good films and played well in them. This is not Robert Pattinson we're talking about, people. This is a man who has shown himself a versatile, competent actor and we ought to recognize that.

Okay. Now we have that out of the way, let's get on with the review.

The Aviator tells the story of Howard Hughes Jr.  In case you don't know who that is: he was one of the richest men of all time, a filmmaker, a builder of airplanes, husband to both Katharine Hephburn and Ava Gardner and a sporter of fine mustaches.

Will you look at that.

He also had severe OCD, fits of paranoia and a perfectionism that bordered on creepy. He was, in short, a very interesting man. And he got what he deserved: a very good movie.

The story of mr. Hughes' life is told in a rather straightforward way; it starts at the point he started being interesting, and stop when he ceases to be. This practically means from his 22nd to his 42nd year, or from 1927 to 1947. That means that we don't only get a biopic, but also an insight into the world (and particularly it's more famous inhabitants) during those years. Kate Beckinshale plays Ava Gardner, Gwen Stefani (no, really) plays Jean Harlow (one of his starlets) and Jude Law has a very funny cameo as Errol Flynn. But who absolutely steals the show is Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn. She puts so much life in the role that just watching her golf and ramble about art and politics to Hughes is nothing short of blissful.

If this woman ever plays a bad role I will eat my own shoe

But although the movie is very solid in its depictions off the times of the man, it stays behind a little on the man himself. Hughes was someone to whom a lot happened: he built the fastest airplanes of the day and crashed twice, he was sued and tried by his competitors and a corrupt senator (he won the trial), he has some very deep depressions and fits of OCD, the list goes on. Hughes in the movie is very busy this way, but we rarely ever get a deep insight in the man himself. DiCaprio plays pretty damn good, but Hughes remains enigmatic. And not in a Lawrence-Of-Arabia-esque way in which you can speculate on his true self, but more in an I-don't-get-it way.

But don't let these small flaws keep you from watching and enjoying the movie. It might not be perfect, but it's a damn good movie by some damn good artists about a damn interesting guy.


P.S. Has everyone seen Inception yet? I'm not going to review it because I don't feel I have anything meaningful to add to what has already been said about the movie, but it is without a doubt one of the best movies of the year and reminder that just because something isn't art doesn't keep it from being incredibly well put together. Seriously, see Inception.

Okay, so the only connection between the song and the movie is the time they are set in, but screw you. Cole Porter kicks ass.

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