Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Review: The Aviator

The Aviator is Martin Scorsese's movie about Howard Hughes. I didn't know much about Howard Hughes the man, but the movie at least seemed to do a good job portraying important moments of his life, from movie-making to making aircraft, this seemed to be a man truly larger than life, able to do whatever he wanted, but subject to a dreadful mental illness that DiCarpio depicts well: at one point we see him covering his mouth to keep himself from repeatedly saying the same words that he knew he would loop into if he were not to stop himself.

Cate Blanchett won an Oscar as Katherine Hepburn, but I really did not like her in this role. Her acting seemed really contrived, and even her laughs seemed fake. It could very well be that Katherine Hepburn was really like this, but I found it really difficult to watch any segment of the film with her in it.

As far as the story goes, Scorsese avoids trying to make any editorial comments about Hughes, and I think he succeeded in this case. We learn to feel sorry for him, but we also get to see the ruthlessness and shrewdness needed to dominate an industry the way Howard Hughes did. About the only thing I dislike was that Hughes was such a penny pincher he had his aircraft company turned into a charity to avoid paying taxes, but the movie portrays him as a profligate spender, risking all in pursuit of a goal. It would have been interesting to delve into these contradictions.

It's a long movie, so it's best watched at home so you can pause it to go to the bathroom. There aren't very many action sequences, so it's not a movie where there'd be any problem pausing (or even stopping) the movie and then resuming it later. Despite the movie being on Blu-Ray, I can honestly say that this was one Blu-Ray that didn't give me the "wow, I'm watching in HD!" feeling --- the subject matter really wasn't subject to high definition, and the transfer was nothing special.

I can say I enjoyed the movie, but not enough to give it a recommended rating. I guess I'm just not enough of a Scorsese fan.
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