Monday, January 10, 2005

7

7)

The Aviator

Dir. Martin Scorsese
170 min; Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Jude Law and Gwen Stefani

"You feel like a little adventure?" "Do your worst Mr. Hughes."

Martin Scorsese is one of those directors that I'm compelled to like everything that they've done. I really cannot think of a film of his that I didn't like. That said there are people who find his films (Gangs of New York, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull) unsettling and disturbing, filled with violent, angry men and the worlds that they inhabit. However, on the surface The Aviator is the Scorsese film for all the people who don't like that side of his films. This one has garnered amazing critical sucess, coupled with good word of mouth. This PG-13 Scorsese picture could be the one that finally brings Marty the sucess he has been denied since Rocky beat Taxi Driver for Best Picture in 1976. Furthermore, Leonardo DiCaprio has graduated to full blown leading man, and may himself get an Oscar nod for this self-produced biopic of one of the most fascinating individuals of the twentieth century.

The surface of The Aviator is decieving. While this may seem to be a strange picture for Scorsese to be directing (supposedly he was convinced to direct the film by friend DiCaprio), but on closer examination this is a perfect Scorsese vehicle. Howard Hughes was a superstar with a dark side. His airplanes flew the globe, his movies populated the silver screen. He dated the hottest actresses and hung out at the swankiest clubs. But beneath all that Hughes was tormented by inner demons. His life long struggle with OCD drove him to the brink of madness, time and time again until he ended his life a bizzare and faded memory of his former greatness, long hair and kleenex boxes in bungalow in Los Vegas. This film doesn't cover his whole life, but rather focuses on the period between 1927 and 1947 when Hughes Aircraft and TWA dominated the airways and Hughes's Hell's Angels was the most expensive movie ever made. It's an exciting and fascinating look at a man who for all his sucess is overcome by his own mind.

DiCaprio as Hughes is a revelation. I was won over by his peformances in (which I incidently love) and Gangs of New York and Catch Me If You Can. Here the memories of the teen hearthrob from Titantic are almost entirely disappeared (he's still a boyish looking man, but you can't fault him for that). DiCaprio brings an intensity and seriousness to Hughes that I haven't seen in him before. This is a performance that is all in the eyes.

Cate Blanchett however steals the film from everyone with her portrayal of Katherine Hepburn. We all know what the real Kate Hepburn was like, and the differences in their appearance, but Blanchett is completely convincing as Hepburn. Again, her performance is all about attitude. Her ability to capture the fire and (again) intensity that the real life persona carried with her is remarkable. Blanchett studied Hepburn for months to effect the mannerism's, poise, and even her distinctive upper-class New Enland accent. If Blanchett doesn't win I'll be dissapointed. While Hollywood often loves characters who recreate real-life characters, often much of the performance is marked by make-up or dramatic physical change. But here is a perforance where an actress becomes the character, not through gimmicks and make-up, but rather with a purely brilliant performance.

This is also a brilliant looking film. Scorsese captures the Technicolor look of the films of the period and drapes his biopic in the same kind of look. The special effects are top notch, particularly a crash scene in Beverly Hills will take your breath away.

It's not a perfect film, but like Scorsese's Gangs of New York before it, it transcends its flaws (the film is a touch long for the subject matter) to be one of the most entertaining and fascinating films of the year and one of my favourites.

11 Comments:

At 7:21 PM, Blogger cait said...

That's a way different review than most of the people I know have given it (the common word among those reviews was "atrocious").

I've not seen it, and hadn't intended to (I don't like biopics or Leonardo Dicaprio), but I might, after reading your review of it.

 
At 4:23 PM, Blogger Anders said...

Who gave it an atrocious review? I thought the reviews were actually rather glowing and most of the people I talked to really liked it. But then again, most of my friends like Scorsese...a lot!

My recommendation on DiCaprio is to watch What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Catch Me If You Can and The Aviator to see how good he actually is. I know the guy can't speak iambic pentameter (but I still love that particular movie none-the-less). He's actually a good actor. Give him a chance.

 
At 6:21 PM, Blogger cait said...

I can't BELIEVE you like that movie nonetheless! DiCaprio and Danes massacred my favourite tragedy! It's b/c it's Baz Luhrmann, isn't it?

 
At 9:04 PM, Blogger cait said...

Let's try that again without yelling; I did, to a certain extent, enjoy that version. However, the cast was extremely uneven, and I thought the chemistry between Dicaprio and Danes was less than zero.

I actually think it's a really hard play to produce; one has to communicate that this is not really about a 14 and a 16 year old being stupid and hormonal, it is about transcendental love.

 
At 9:50 PM, Blogger i_rabies said...

love bites my ass....i need a cigarette and i cant find the key to next door or the key to the bullet...and i look like a butchered bowie/tina/whitney houston.....LOVE bites my ass in forty below weather.....and I need a new toothbrush....Romeo and Juliet bites my ass too....so does Leo...although I like claire danes....You know that movie mermaids..i like that even though she isnt in it....

 
At 10:23 PM, Blogger cait said...

I think you are being excessively negative, Rabies. I am hungry. I think we must have faith in love; it's too easy to be really angry at it because it can be so painful

 
At 10:32 PM, Blogger i_rabies said...

im not angry at love...im angry at not being able to find the key to the other side...oh and i might be a tad angry that i butchered my hair...and that my mother seems to think she can speak thorugh walls AT THE MOMENT....how the hell does someone get angry at ove ....if your angry at it then it wasnt love int the first place...and Caitlin please stop bringing up Jacob in weird veiled terms....youve done it like three times tonight....im not angry im just not wanting to talk about it....so lets not drag it up anymore....i need cigarette.................

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger i_rabies said...

actually im sorry maybe i am angry and paranoid....never mind i am probably reading into things....ah i probably am angry at it HOLY CRAP how do you get angry at love fuckin hell....stupid..man...

 
At 10:34 PM, Blogger i_rabies said...

blogging bites my ass right now i need a cigarette...and just because somethign bites my ass doesnt mean its a negative thing anyway...i think you are being negative...quit biting my ass

 
At 11:03 PM, Blogger cait said...

dude! I so didn't! And I thought we were calling him "whatshissnuff" now.

 
At 11:41 PM, Blogger i_rabies said...

i know im just biting my ass cause new faculty pics are up

 

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