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Martin Scorsese's THE AVIATOR is a lavish spectacle of a motion picture that harks back to Hollywood's Golden Era in telling the story of Howard Hughes, one of 20th-century America's most pioneering and influential figures. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the eccentric billionaire, Scorsese's biopic concentrates on Hughes's life between the 1920s and '40s, when he made some of his most striking contributions to both the film and aviation industries. At only 25 years of age, Hughes directed the most expensive film ever made u ... (Full plot summary below)
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Martin Scorsese's THE AVIATOR is a lavish spectacle of a motion picture that harks back to Hollywood's Golden Era in telling the story of Howard Hughes, one of 20th-century America's most pioneering and influential figures. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the eccentric billionaire, Scorsese's biopic concentrates on Hughes's life between the 1920s and '40s, when he made some of his most striking contributions to both the film and aviation industries. At only 25 years of age, Hughes directed the most expensive film ever made up to that point, HELL'S ANGELS (1930), which Scorsese gleefully recreates here in all its sprawling, audacious glory. At the same time, he became known as an unabashed playboy, bedding the likes of Jean Harlow (singer Gwen Stefani), Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale), and Katherine Hepburn (a brilliant Cate Blanchett). In the mid-'30s, he turned his attention to the aviation industry, where he quickly became a world-renowned celebrity for shattering speed and distance records. He also continued to test the limits of flight technology, building bigger, faster, and stronger aircrafts. All the while, he struggled with an obsessive-compulsive mental disorder that sent him into a full-fledged tailspin after a near-fatal plane crash. The film concludes with Hughes being called to the Senate in '47 to defend himself against nefarious Senator Owen Brewster (Alan Alda), who accused Hughes of taking money from the United States government during wartime. Stunningly photographed by Robert Richardson, Scorsese's nearly three-hour drama features an impassioned performance by DiCaprio, who is also credited as an executive producer. Although she appears in less than a third of the film, Blanchett delivers a performance that cements her status as one of the finest actresses ever to appear on the big screen.
Dramatisation of the life of Hollywood film mogul and aviation enthusiast Howard Hughes. Focussing on the years between the late 1920s and 1940s, both Hughes' professional and personal lives are explored, including his dalliances with Katharine Hepburn and Ava Gardner.
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|New York Magazine (Vulture) Ken Tucker The result is an admirably bumpy ride of a biopic, a rare one that leaves you feeling not safe but bracingly unsettled.|
|Charlotte Observer Lawrence Toppman Martin Scorsese understands one character better than any other American director: the man who rises in the world to wealth or prominence without attaining what he wants most. That's why Howard Hughes is an ideal subject for this director.|
|Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern Watching the actors and gorgeous trappings is an adventure in cognitive dissonance. I didn't believe a single minute in almost three hours, but enjoyed being there all the same.|
|Empire Simon Braund DiCaprio shines, dispelling fears that he hasnt the weight to carry such a complex, forceful role.|
|Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert This is one of the year's best films.|
|New York Daily News Jami Bernard A lush, panoramic, dizzyingly portrait of the many-tentacled entrepreneur Howard Hughes. Unfortunately, though it may finally gain an Oscar for director Martin Scorsese, it is not his best work. The movie is disappointingly flat.|
|Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman Scorsese, I think, is so invested in making The Aviator upbeat and rousing that the movie never quite reveals, the way that "Kinsey" or "Ray" or "A Beautiful Mind" or even a good E! True Hollywood Story do, how its hero's vision and his grand torments could be flip sides of the same temperament.|
|Austin Chronicle Marc Savlov Its bravura, classic Hollywood filmmaking, and you like to think that Hughes himself would have viewed it, if not appreciatively, then at least with a sense of kinship.|