Not being a huge fan of DiCaprio’s I wasn’t really sure why I wanted to see this film, the trailers weren’t anything special, but I suppose all the talk about how good this film was made me more inclined to watch it.
Not knowing anything much about Howard Hughes I am not in a position to offer a verdict on how well it portrayed him, or how accurate it was. However, DiCaprio does a fantastic job. First off he plays the dashing playboy, directing films and flying planes as fast as possible. We see his romances, and Blanchett is fantastic as Hepburn, his battles to keep shoting, or keep flying, or to keep his business (TWA) out of Pan-Am hands. But it is later in the film where he really shines, when Hughes becomes a recluse and, lets put it bluntly, a bit of a wierdo. Even better is his courtroom battle, when he comes back from insanity to challenge the crooked senator and keep his planes in the air.
There are quite a few stunning visuals in this film, and the plane crash that Hughes suffers is fantastically awful (I’m wondering how Flight of the Phoenix will compare, its trailer was showing before The Aviator). And yet beneath the glossy surface we only catch glimpses of the man that was Howard Hughes, and although the audience may think we have a better understanding of him, it is hard to really get to know him.