Monday, January 17, 2005

The Aviator

In a Nutshell: Well filmed, well acted, beautiful costuming, very enjoyable, definitely worth seeing.

Quick Plot: Bio-pic of Howard Hughes spanning his early successes and his mid-life breakdown. Certainly a brilliant and innovative man, despite his eventual madness.

In Detail: I really enjoyed this film. I wasn't sure what I would get. I'm not a huge fan of Martin Scorsese films anyway (the subject matter rarely appeals to me), so I was concerned, particularly with it being 2 hours and 45 minutes long. It certainly didn't feel that way though. I have no idea how accurate any of the facts are (we all know how reliable Hollywood version facts are), but if even half of what is portrayed is the truth, then he was a truly visionary man decades ahead of his time. As for the film itself, I think the casting was inspired, most especially Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn. However, in a way, by casting so many well known people, it is hard sometimes to get past who the actor is and down to the performance. Some of this is a function of what could have been better acting, but some is purely the visual of such recognizable people in relatively one-dimensional roles. Take Cate Blanchett, for instance. Many have put down her performance as lacking depth, but I disagree. To have attempted to portray someone as famous as "Kate" accurately would have been difficult, and she would have been dogged for her inaccuracies. To instead do her up as a bit of a caricature, she captured the essence without detracting from DiCaprio's performance. DiCaprio, for the most part, does transcend his recognizability, but it pops up every now and then, particularly during the "isolationist" period of the film. Overall, though, his performance is excellent. Having seen virtually no Scorsese films, I don't know if this is a trademark of his or not, but I did also want to comment on the use of silence in this film. In an era where louder is better, the periods of quiet in this movie are amazing. "Listen" for them, if you see it; it is incredibly effective at saying all there is to say.

Sorry, I'm not usually so "formal" and heavy-handed with my reviews, but this film certainly deserved it. I wasn't thinking that it necessarily deserved a potential Oscar nomination (or Golden Globe win) for Best Picture, but rereading my observations above, perhaps it really does.

Will I Buy It? It is *worth* buying, but I know I wouldn't watch it a whole lot, so no. Absolutely worth seeing, though would lose very little on DVD (except a couple of remarkable surround sound sequences for those of us not home-equipped).