“Cinema will always have an important role to play in society.” – Leslie Caron
For Movie Monday today I am looking at Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator”, which we watched recently. This is a “biopic”, a biographical film looking at the early career of Howard Hughes, the American multimillionaire and aviator, covering his life between the 1920s and mid 1940s.
I must admit that before seeing this film, I was only aware of Howard Hughes as an eccentric, reclusive multimillionaire who donated a great deal of money to found an Institute for Medical Research. The film was an eye-opener as far as Hughes contribution to the early days of aviation. Anyone who has an interest in airplanes and flying should definitely watch this film. In conjunction, it may be of interest to look at the Wikipedia entry on Howard Hughes.
Scorsese is one of the great directors and every scene of this movie, however inventive and daring, is made to look elegantly simple. The direction, editing and cinematography are all excellent and the costumes, makeup and design are flawless.
As is the case with biopics, one has to be convinced that the people depicted live yet again on the cinematic screen - especially so, when the people depicted are such well-known screen legends as Katharine Hepburn (excellently played by Kate Blanchett), Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale), Jean Harlow (Gwen Stefani) and Errol Flynn (a hilarious vignette played by Jude Law). The casting was very good and Leonardo Di Caprio did a sterling job as the man struggling with his demons in order to achieve his dreams.
Although the film was long (170 minutes), it never dragged for me and I was spellbound by its intricacies. Hughes’ genius in aeronautics is well shown and is counterpointed with his mental problems that would become legendary later on in life. His obsessive-compulsive disorder and mysophobia (or molysmophobia = fear of dirt or contamination) are shown in context by Scorsese and Hughes’ achievements despite these monumental setbacks are displayed.
The world of corrupt politicians and dirty tricks in big business is a sub-plot of the movie and the llama scene is a classic! I won't give too much away because if you have not seen the movie, I strongly recommend that you do so!
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