No one does biographical drama films like Martin Scorsese. The man has made himself known for creating iconic stories of people and bringing them to the big screen. Jordan Belfort, Henry Hill, and perhaps the most notorious of them all; Howard Hughes. Martin Scorsese is a true auteur in Hollywood, doing what he likes and the way he likes.
The best thing about the story of Howard Hughes is that it was barely fictionalized, and that is what makes it so much more effective for most audiences. It’s a cleaner film, from an era where vulgarity wasn’t overly prevalent, yet it slowly sinks into your skin and makes you feel how demented the entrepreneur mindset could get.
How to Stream or Download The Aviator
You can stream it or you can download the film from a digital store. Click on the Download button at the end of this review. If you like Leonardo DiCaprio, check him out also in Titanic, Shutter Island, Inception, Django Unchained, The Revenant, or Don’t Look Up.
The Movie Review
This biographical epic is based on the non-fiction book called Howard Hughes: The Secret Life. It chronicles the life and rise of one of the most notorious entrepreneurs in American history, Howard Hughes Jr.
It showcases his rise within Hollywood, and how he built an empire for himself using the wealth of resources that his father had left him. It begins with his escapades in the aviation industry, followed by his entry into the film industry with his direction of Hell’s Angels. It also showcases his rise to fame, while his mental health was suffering due to his crippling obsessive-compulsive disorder.
This is quite a long film, and director Martin Scorsese expertly crafts it to showcase only the most important aspects of Hughes’ life. It dives headfirst into his mentality, depicting how his mental illnesses are holding him back from being fully functional. It also depicts his notorious rise to glory, and how every endeavor he invested his time and money into performed above and beyond expectations. Scorsese sets the pacing for the film as a slow burner, yet he makes sure that the most important moments remain.
There is just something unsettling about Leonardo Dicaprio’s performance as Howard Hughes Jr. Leo makes sure that you understand that this character is traumatized and has a plethora of issues that he is dealing with, and he portrays that in his performance with a grim and downright dismantled demeanor.
Howard’s reactions to everything around him are way more peculiar than the rest, and the supporting cast in the film helps Leo bring that to screen at its highest potential. This was one of the first films where he got to show off how good of an actor he is, and he did a banger job.
The controversy that surrounds Howard Hughes is abysmal, ranging from scandals to accusations of tax evasion and money laundering. Though, that is what made the tycoon so prominent in the film industry back in the 1930s. The supporting cast of Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn, John C. Reilly as Noah Dietrich Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner, and Alec Baldwin as Juan Trippe all perform amicably in their roles. They make the world of this film so believable, that you are fully immersed in Scorsese’s creation.
Visually speaking, cinematographer Robert Richardson does a fantastic job of conveying the tone of this film through a visual lens. This film is drowning in color, yet it is felt with warmer tones to showcase how Howard’s inner conflicts are taking over his life.
It also doesn’t shy away from using unusual camera angles, and framing in an almost perverted way. It makes sure that you dive deep into the psyche of this character and come out understanding his perspective if not agreeing or sympathizing with him.
Films such as this deserve a worthy score, something that sets the mood even more than the cinematography or the acting. The soundtrack by Howard Shore does exactly this, bringing forth that elevating factor that was missing from a lot of the biographical films of that era. it is a Moody yet chaotic soundtrack, going from jazzy tunes to more rock and roll and even some classical music sections.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, The Aviator is an under-appreciated masterpiece. It is one of the few films in Scorsese’s catalog that genuinely define his style as an auteur. The film is drowning in style, the performances are absolutely Immaculate and the world is genuinely brimming with detail. If I could find a single flaw in this film then I surely would have mentioned it, yet there isn’t one.
- Fantastic story, a perfect retelling of a disturbed man’s life.
- Incredible acting, bringing the characters of the film to life.
- Beautifully shot film, with camera work and framing techniques that were never seen before.
- Immaculate color-grading and editing, a film that pleases the eye.
- A fantastic score to accompany the moodiness of this feature.