Sunday, 26 December 2004

The Aviator

In spite of a good deal of trivial knowledge on other subjects, I went into The Aviator knowing almost nothing about Howard Hughes other than he was involved in both movies and airplanes, and little more. Knowing a good deal more now, having seen the movie and read a bit on him, he seems like a fascinating figure with most of the qualities one expects from someone that accomplished so much.

He was eccentric, to put it mildly. He had an apparent mental disorder and he’s remarkably like the typical Scorsese protagonist. He’s tormented, he treats women like objects—though he needs them horribly to stay balanced, and his life becomes increasingly unbearable as he distances himself from them—but he doesn’t descend into violence (at least in the movie), unlike Travis Bickle or Jake LaMotta.

I’m surprised to say that this movie is better than Gangs of New York, but not by much. It took me a while to forget that Leonardo DiCaprio was playing Hughes, but after thirty minutes or so I had accepted it. DiCaprio did a really good job, but it’s hard for him to age as a character. He still has a boyish quality. Oddly, though, in spite of this, he got better as the movie progressed because the movie works well. In spite of its length (almost three hours), I never looked at my watch, which I did about twenty minutes into Ocean’s Twelve.

It’s a fascinating movie and, if you like Scorsese movies, you will love this one. Surprisingly little violence, almost no nudity (typical) but some bizarre dementia, like obsessively peeing in bottles and becoming reclusive.

[I said I would see it a couple of weeks ago, but obviously didn't since it only went into wide release yesterday.]