The best of Leonardo DiCaprio ever, and the best of Martin Scorsese since Taxi Driver, “The Aviator” was like a jackpot winner for the duo, due to its subject story. Based on the life story of Howard Hughes, an American genius, adventurer and the creator of one of the earliest aviation epics on the screen, “Hell’s Angels”, The Aviator brings his memory back. A business giant, record-setting pilot, filmmaker, and philanthropist that founded a huge medical institute for research that as of 2007 was the fourth largest private such organization, Hughes was as vulnerable as any ordinary man. Suffering from a severe OCD that DiCaprio demonstrates it the best on the screen, the film like Hughes’ life in between all the adventures and actions, is humane and touching.
The Aviator: Legends suffer too:
The film opens with Hughes’ childhood when his young mother bathes and warns him about an incident of Cholera epidemic at the time and that he is not safe. Hence sowing the seed of obsession about germs for the rest of his life. Jumping from there to 1927 when the 22 years old Hughes struggles hard to make his own aviation epic film, showing the world his largest airport in the world. Filming his airplanes with his 24 cameras, he needs two more cameras that when asking some Hollywood producers faces their mocks and rejections. Realizing that the movements of the planes in his film are not depicted on the screen well, smart Hughes discovers that he needs clouds in the background to show the actions better. He employs the best meteorologist, professor Fitz (Ian Holm) from UCLA to find him clouds and pays him double of what university paid him.
Forced to close his aviation film project due to its highly cost and not getting anywhere, he does not quit and keeps pushing forward against his business consultant, Noah Dietrich (John C. Reilly) advice and finishes his “Hell’s Angles”. The film is received with a huge accolade in its preview opening in Hollywood against all the odds. A star-studded life filled with relationships with the great stars of the golden age of Hollywood, from Jane Harlow (Gwen Stefani) to Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett) and Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale), Hughes and the film is not only about his aviation adventure and filmmaking, but his sexual appetite and romances as well. One of the best example of American ambition, Hughes not only flew his airplanes and set records the first times, he took his lovers like Hepburn on a flight ride at night over Hollywood and LA and let her on the wheel.
A perfectionist in the design and build of his aircrafts, Hughes infuriates his engineers like Glenn “Odie” Odekirk (Matt Ross) when not fulfilling his expectations. Pushing himself and his planes to the limits, in one of his flight speed race test, he breaks the record of the fastest man on the planet in 1935, but at the end he crushes the plane into a farm field. Right after his record breaking air race, while Hepburn tends to his foot injury, Howard shows his other humane and fragile part when he reveals to her that at times he gets some ideas and sees things that are not real. His adventure takes another extreme by being the first man to fly around the globe in four days. One of the first signs of his OCD in the powder room of a reception is when he washes his hands with his personal bar of soap and refuses to hand the towel to a man on a walker who cannot reach it due to his obsession.
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The Greatest films of all time: 91.The Aviator (USA) (2004)