The Aviator got off to a great start. I was enjoying myself, I was having fun. I wanted to learn more about Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio), and I wanted to see the rest of the film. It opened off wonderfully, as a matter of fact, and it did a great job of drawing me in to the world that it created.
Said world begins in 1927 with Howard Hughes directing the film Hell’s Angels. He is seemingly a perfectionist, requiring over two-dozen cameras just to film one scene. He’s a rich man, and is able to spend over $4 million on the final picture. He even re-films the entire movie after realizing that silent pictures are out of style. He becomes completely obsessed with making the best film he can.
Unfortunately, the filmmaking aspect that dominates this first part is more or less forgotten about later on. Hughes begins designing airplanes, and taking a large interest in the aviation business. I suppose that’s where the title “The Aviator” comes from. For me, anyway, this aspect of the film was far less interesting, especially with how much I enjoyed the first part.
Now, this isn’t to say that there isn’t a lot to like or enjoy for the majority of the film, as the drama was still interesting, even if the subject matter wasn’t. The character of Hughes is still one you’ll want to follow, as he undergoes a series of changes throughout. Part of the film focuses on his increasing OCD, which is fascinating to bear witness to.
Part of the reason that Hughes is a character that we want to watch is because of the performance given by Leonardo DiCaprio. He does a great job in his role, playing the slightly crazy and paranoid character wonderfully. While he doesn’t show much emotional depth, his character didn’t often call for much emotion, that’s part of his personality.
The supporting cast, large as it is, all play their parts well too. They don’t give the same type of scene-stealing performance that DiCaprio does, but they play their roles just fine. Nothing incredibly memorable or noteworthy, but that’s a good thing, I believe. It means that all of our focus goes on Howard Hughes, and not towards any of the secondary characters.
While we will come to care about Hughes, there are some scenes within The Aviator that are incredibly dull and boring. It’s an odd case, because there are some moments where you will not be able to take your eyes off the screen while others where you will want to turn the film off. At least, that was what happened when I was watching.
Near the middle of the film, when not all that much is going on, I was bored. I was hoping that the film was almost over, because I was growing tired of everything that was happening. Then I checked, and found out that only about an hour an a half had passed. Then, a turning point occurred, and it was the first scene in a while that I really enjoyed.
There is a scene where Howard Hughes and his fiancé, Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett), are going to her parent’s house. While eating their meal, there are many dialogue exchanges, ones that overlap and become somewhat hard to follow. Despite that, I was intrigued, and that is when the film began to pick up again. For that, I was glad, as I was once again enjoying myself.
But, this enjoyment didn’t last forever. Near the film’s conclusion, I was once again bored. The film seemed to be toying with me, constantly switching between allowing me to enjoy it, and making me want to switch it off. Some scenes made me sleepy, while others kept me engrossed, holding my attention like they should.
I think the main problem the film has is its length, which is just short of 170 minutes. Had some of the scenes that were boring been cut, it would have been able to both keep my attention and also been a better film. It just isn’t involving enough to be considered a great film, because if there are times where I considered switching it off so that I wouldn’t have to endure any more of it, I can’t consider it to be a great success, even if many of its parts were quite good.
Even though it got off to a great start, The Aviator ended up being a very inconsistent film. It had really great, involving and exhilarating scenes, but also ones that bored me enough to think about halting my viewing of it. The acting was great, particularly on the part of DiCaprio, and the story was on the whole well told and interesting, especially with the mental degeneration of Howard Hughes. The film wasn’t a complete success, but not a bust either; it was just too long to be an incredibly great watch.