Some men dream the future. He built it.
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written by: John Logan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Ian Holm
Primary Genres: Drama; Historical
2004 Cosmique Movie Awards
Biopic follows the life of legendary aviator and filmmaker Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio), the loves of his life, Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett) and Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale), and his descent into madness.
"The Aviator" is being hailed as one of the year's best films, and for once I agree. It's a challenging topic and a challenging film to make; Martin Scorsese delivers his best work in years with a film that is sweeping, epic, and engaging. A few sags keep it from a perfect 10, but that's the only flaw in my book.
Leonardo DiCaprio was once slated for a career much like Johnny Depp's has turned out - an actor who could turn character roles into leading roles. But for a time, "Titanic" seemed to derail that promise. All of a sudden, Hollywood expected him to be the blockbuster heartthrob, and his chances of finding more meaningful roles seemed to diminish. His career as a serious actor re-emerged with "The Gangs of New York" and "Catch Me If You Can," both two years ago, but it's "The Aviator" that firmly places him back in the league of Oscar luminaries. I believe "The Aviator" is his finest work to date, and worth all the nominations that seem to be headed his way.
Cate Blanchett has always been beloved by an influential faction of Cosmo voters - as of this date, she is tied with Ian McKellen for the most Cosmo nominations, but hers include several Hall of Fame nominations as well as a Best Actress win for "Bandits." Her portrayal of the legendary Katharine Hepburn (first inductee into the Cosmo Hall of Fame) is a challenging one: for the first few moments, it seems contrived, but within seconds we're sucked into it. Cate absolutely deserves another Cosmo nomination for the performance.
Because of a bit of a lull two-thirds of the way through the film, the writing might not quite make my top five list. But it will almost certainly rank in my top five for Actor, Supporting Actress, Drama, Historical, Costume/Make-up, Cinematography/Set Design, and Score. Not to mention Best Film. And possible Best Supporting Actor (or two). And Intimate Actress. And Martin Scorsese will very likely earn a Cosmo nomination for Best Director, just as he will likely earn an Oscar nomination. While I was glad he didn't win Best Director for "Gangs of New York" (a nice film that was ultimately too muddled to be considered the best direction of 2002), which I felt would have been a lifetime achievement consolation rather than a true recognition of the film's merits, I do believe that if he wins the Oscar in 2004, it will have been earned.
My Rating: 9
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