Air Head
The Aviator
Review by Ross Anthony

The film proceeds with the same sort of brass tacks will power that Howard Hughes pumped into his film and airplane projects. Terribly appropriate too since the first such project the film depicts is "Hell's Angels," Hughes' multi-million dollar motion picture production. Scorsese cares about every frame, every cut, as Hughes sweats over every camera angle. I haven't seen "Hell's Angels," but the result of this such attention makes "Aviator" a lush, vibrant, well-paced, picture.

Hughes will immediately captivate you; he's a strong personality with guts of a warrior. A man on a mission, and though an heir to millions, he seems common. His plight feels somehow an overblown, enlarged version of our own. Though we'll probably never build a wooden airplane two football fields long, DiCaprio and Scorsese make us feel like the many obstacles facing Hughes are somehow like our own obstacles.

It's a rage against the machine, surge of passion for your calling adventure that drives the picture high into the sky, like an experimental aircraft. But there are a few shaky screws loose in the foil. As Hughes wins battle after battle with his competition, he slowly loses the battle with his own sanity. An unsettling sputtering engine disturbs the wonderful feeling of soaring so aptly created in the first chunk of the film. The emotional arc falls into a spinning biplane tumble toward the hard Earth.

Of course, Leo's performance also tops the notch. And with Cate Blanchett recreating Katharine Hepburn, the film is far from lacking in the acting department. A solid production, but the picture of Hughes painted is far from dreamy. It's difficult to watch someone crash. Also, at almost 3 hours long, this bio only covers a certain portion of Hughes life.

This film screened at a Krikorian Theatre.

  • The Aviator. Copyright © 2004. Rated PG-13. 169 minutes.
  • Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Kate Beckinsale, Jude Law, Matt Ross, Alan Alda.
  • Directed by Martin Scorsese.
  • Screenplay by John Logan.
  • Produced by Michael Mann, Sandy Climan, Graham King, Charles Evans Jr. at Miramax/Warner Bros. Pics.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)

Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:21:43 PDT