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Fast-paced biopic documenting the life of one of the most colourful Americans of the 20th century, Howard Hughes. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Hughes, the son of a Texan inventor who dies and leaves him with a small fortune. Hughes moves to Los Angeles to become a Hollywood film producer and produces such classics as 'Hell's Angels', 'The Front Page' and 'Flying Leathernecks'. He also becomes involved in the aviation industry, designing new planes, setting air speed records and flying around the world risking his life testing aircraft. As his ideas become bolder, his approach becomes more eccentric, and he gains many powerful enemies.
Martin Scorsese's THE AVIATOR is a lavish spectacle of a motion picture that harks back to Hollywood's Golden Era in telling the story of Howard Hughes, one of 20th-century America's most pioneering and influential figures. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the eccentric billionaire, Scorsese's biopic concentrates on Hughes's life between the 1920s and '40s, when he made some of his most striking contributions to both the film and aviation industries. At only 25 years of age, Hughes directed the most expensive film ever made up to that point, HELL'S ANGELS (1930), which Scorsese gleefully recreates here in all its sprawling, audacious glory. At the same time, he became known as an unabashed playboy, bedding the likes of Jean Harlow (singer Gwen Stefani), Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale), and Katherine Hepburn (a brilliant Cate Blanchett). In the mid-'30s, he turned his attention to the aviation industry, where he quickly became a world-renowned celebrity for shattering speed and distance records. He also continued to test the limits of flight technology, building bigger, faster, and stronger aircrafts. All the while, he struggled with an obsessive-compulsive mental disorder that sent him into a full-fledged tailspin after a near-fatal plane crash. The film concludes with Hughes being called to the Senate in '47 to defend himself against nefarious Senator Owen Brewster (Alan Alda), who accused Hughes of taking money from the United States government during wartime. Stunningly photographed by Robert Richardson, Scorsese's nearly three-hour drama features an impassioned performance by DiCaprio, who is also credited as an executive producer. Although she appears in less than a third of the film, Blanchett delivers a performance that cements her status as one of the finest actresses ever to appear on the big screen.