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The Aviator

8/10
Biography . Drama
 

Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning biopic about the life of film-maker and aviation pioneer Howard Hughes from 1927 to 1947, during which time he became a successful film producer and an aviation magnate while simultaneously growing more unstable due to severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. After a scene from 1914, which may explain his later fear of dirt and disease, the film starts in 1927 during Hughes' filming of the World War I aviation film "Hell's Angels". He's 22 years old, has inherited the family's fortune and tool company, but wants to spend his time making film instead. However, he soon finds himself just as involved in the aviation industry, buying an airline and developing new planes.

 
Actors: Danny Huston , Kelli Garner , Jude Law , Ian Holm , Alan Alda , Alec Baldwin , John C. Reilly , Kate Beckinsale , Cate Blanchett , Leonardo DiCaprio
Directors: Martin Scorsese
Country: USA , GERMANY
Release: 2004-12-25
More Info:
  • Roger Ebert

    This is one of the year's best films.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Michael Wilmington

    Sumptuously exciting, glowing with expertise, seething with life, gorgeously designed and thrillingly articulated.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Mike Clark

    Despite the film's sporadic lulls, both director and star are on full beam. The first and third hours of this 20th-century epic are as dazzling as big-scale movies get.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    If you didn't know that Martin Scorsese made The Aviator, the enthralling new adventure-biography of Howard Hughes, you might think it was the calling card of a neophyte visual genius.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    An enormously entertaining slice of biographical drama, The Aviator flies like one of Howard Hughes' record-setting speed airplanes.

    Variety Full Review
  • David Denby

    Brilliantly entertaining.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    The Aviator, though, if not prime Scorsese, is the closest thing in a long time to the old Scorsese. What a splendid year-end gift!

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • William Arnold

    It's not his (Scorsese) best film, but it's his most accessible and most thoroughly entertaining.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Chris Barsanti

    This is Scorsese’s "Schindler's List", for better and for worse (mostly the better).

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    The result is an admirably bumpy ride of a biopic, a rare one that leaves you feeling not safe but bracingly unsettled.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • David Ansen

    DiCaprio is astonishing.

    Newsweek Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    When it flies, it soars.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Glenn Kenny

    So breathtaking is the action.

    Premiere Full Review
  • Michael Rechtshaffen

    Scorsese has crafted a rip-roaringly gorgeous-looking, beautifully acted biographical epic. But while firing on all cylinders, there's something oddly distancing about the picture.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Simon Braund

    DiCaprio shines, dispelling fears that he hasn’t the weight to carry such a complex, forceful role.

    Empire Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Hugely entertaining and extravagantly empathetic.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    A frenzied, sometimes overreaching biopic that paints in bold colors on a huge canvas, the film stars a never-better Leonardo DiCaprio--as perfectly cast here as he was miscast in "Gangs."

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Tainted or not, Hughes' life was a remarkable one, and, flawed or not, Scorsese's film version deserves the same accolade.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    But Cate Blanchett ... ahhhh. She doesn't impersonate Katharine Hepburn, she channels her.

    Slate Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    It’s bravura, classic Hollywood filmmaking, and you like to think that Hughes himself would have viewed it, if not appreciatively, then at least with a sense of kinship.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • David Sterritt

    Has to be called one of the year's best movies. Credit goes partly to the built-in fascination of its subject and partly to its excellent cast.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Scorsese has crafted a luxurious entertainment that goes down like a flute of sparkling, silky champagne.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    The movie equivalent of a lavish coffee-table book, a love letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood from one of its foremost students.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Carrie Rickey

    Scorsese's most accomplished, most disciplined movie since GoodFellas. His most gorgeous, too, with the peaches'n'strawberries'n'cream palette of early Technicolor films.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    The Aviator has a hole in its center, and Scorsese fills it the only way he can, with spectacle. He makes The Aviator colorful and entertaining from beginning to end. There are worse things.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    As luscious as the filmmaking craft here is, it lacks the rude vitality, the unpredictability, the pure American craziness of the films that should have won him (Scorsese) the Oscar: "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull," and "GoodFellas."

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    A flawed but entertaining (and perhaps informative) tale.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Running at about three hours, The Aviator is long, and the momentum occasionally flags. The depiction of Hughes's first mental breakdown feels a little obsessive-compulsive itself.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Martin Scorsese understands one character better than any other American director: the man who rises in the world to wealth or prominence without attaining what he wants most. That's why Howard Hughes is an ideal subject for this director.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    Scorsese, I think, is so invested in making The Aviator upbeat and rousing that the movie never quite reveals, the way that "Kinsey" or "Ray" or "A Beautiful Mind" or even a good E! True Hollywood Story do, how its hero's vision and his grand torments could be flip sides of the same temperament.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Ella Taylor

    A triumph of production design...As a character study, though, The Aviator is downright squeamish.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Robert Wilonsky

    A fun and loving biopic

    Dallas Observer Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    Despite its star's heroic efforts, The Aviator is a gorgeous jet, flying on automatic pilot.

    Time Full Review
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum

    Lots can be said for The Aviator as entertainment, though not much for it as edification.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Jami Bernard

    A lush, panoramic, dizzyingly portrait of the many-tentacled entrepreneur Howard Hughes. Unfortunately, though it may finally gain an Oscar for director Martin Scorsese, it is not his best work. The movie is disappointingly flat.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Maitland McDonagh

    Brisk, glossy and gloriously art-directed, Scorsese's lavish biopic is a pop trifle, engaging but not compelling.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    Visually sumptuous if disappointingly hollow account of Hughes's early life.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    We may enjoy watching the spectacles, but we don't much care for, or even have a feeling for, the guy in the cockpit.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Stanley Kauffmann

    This same film, shot for shot, line for line, could have been much more solid and engrossing, much farther up the Parnassian slope, with a better actor as Hughes.

    The New Republic Full Review
  • Michael Atkinson

    The Aviator could've been a "Raging Bull" brother film, given that masterpiece's crystalline purity of purpose and humiliated courage. But it brakes far short.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Watching the actors and gorgeous trappings is an adventure in cognitive dissonance. I didn't believe a single minute in almost three hours, but enjoyed being there all the same.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
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