Scorsese skilfully used the 170 minutes running time to create a balanced and entertaining portrayal of Hughes' life including his work, personality, romances, obsessions and slow descent into madness. I loved the music, visuals and great camerawork; it was a fantastic decision to digitally recreate Technicolor bipack and three-strip as it adds so much to the feel of the era . Great performances across the board.
This film is a document of Scorsese's mastery. The use of elements like filtered colors or the dancing camera (being a prolongation or counterpart of the actors' body movements) are evidence for his thoughtful work. And the brillant madness sequence in the private cinema with its abusive confrontation of body and film pictures is a highlight of autoreflexive use of visual media and (like in the whole picture) light.
Both entertainingly bombastic and painfully intimate, The Aviator paints an absorbing portrait of Howard Hughes, and the man behind the mania. The cast is absolutely wonderful: from Cate Blanchett's charm to Leonardo DiCaprio's nuanced descent into his disorders. Minus an occasional sag in pacing, the film moves boisterously, with quiet moments of despair planted beneath the period glitz and excitement.
The Aviator's greatest strength is its ability to make you feel trapped inside Hughes, especially when things go wrong. Otherwise, it's a fun, albeit typical Hollywood biopic and a better period piece. It's entertaining seeing classic Hollywood actors being portrayed by current ones. Leo plays HH quite well & can handle the weight. Scorsese's better half? Not quite, but it is not without its merits & style. 3.5 stars