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The Aviator

Some Men Dream The Future. He Built It 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from The Aviator

From living legend Martin Scorsese comes a film of epic proportions; a biopic charting the life of movie mogul, aviation fanatic, movie starlet-romancing Howard Hughes (Di Caprio) through the 1920s to mid-1940s. Certainly one of the most colourful characters of the 20th century Hughes’ love of aviation sees him direct World War I epic Hell’s Angels, becoming at the time the most expensive production ever made up; taking three years to complete because of his perfectionism and the development of sound in film. His passion then leads him into developing his own airline, but winding up in a world of trouble. He also had time to romance some of the biggest stars of the time including Jean Harlow (cameo appearance from Gwen Stefani), Ava Gardner (Beckinsale) and Katherine Hepburn (Blanchett). However, behind closed doors, Hughes was suffering from an increasingly debilitating cleanliness obsessive-compulsive disorder, which rendered him paranoid and alone.

Nominated for 11 Oscars and heavily tipped for walking away with Best Picture, this is certainly one of the best films of 2004. Di Caprio, seemingly the new De Niro as Scorsese’ muse and the golden boy further proves his acting abilities, if they have recently been in doubt, and he only just lost out on an Oscar, beaten deservedly by Foxx’s outstanding portrayal of Ray Charles in Ray. A standout performance, however, comes in the trouser suits of Blanchett’s Katherine Hepburn who pins down Hepburn’s voice and mannerisms without ever becoming a caricature. 

This is clearly a labour of love for Scorsese and a true demonstration of his talent, bettering all his work since Goodfellas. He chooses to mirror the development of film production at the start replicating the old two-strip Technicolor process (cue blue peas); as the film goes on the appearance becomes more modern. This is a long film, clocking in at a titanic 166mins but it does not drag at all. The action sequences are tense with seamless live action and computer sequences, and the screenplay keeps the story going at a swift pace. This is definitely one to see on the big screen.

Hannah Upton

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Summer Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Summer Term (35mm)