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Jason | Backwater, Alabama | 08/24/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes it seems that neither Scorsese nor DiCaprio can do wrong. When I first learned of their intentions towards this film, I anticipated an intricate character study with Scorsese's eye for detail. An old-Hollywood homage was expected, with tuxedos and gowns, cigarette holders and champagne glasses, all the glamour on which the industry was built. Maybe even a monocle or two. What I didn't expect for it to be a completely epic, entirely engrossing adventure into a reclusive billionaire, a troubled genius, a man who chased dreams into the clouds while embracing the individual capitalist opportunities available to all willing Americans.
After watching this film again recently, I was reminded why there is nearly no doubt that, in my opinion, Scorsese is the greatest American director of all time and DiCaprio is the best actor of his generation. Each of Scorsese's shots and directorial choices are perfect. Every movement, tic, and cough from DiCaprio is compelling. As ambitious as Hughes himself, the production design is fitting for such an incredible movie. At 3-hours, it could feel a bit long in tooth for some. For most, however, it simply rushes by without being rushed.
If broken down into vignettes, milestone moments of the film could have each hooked me into History channel biographies, if not full length films. The adventures in love, aviation, movie making, and Senate scandals are all the stuff of story books and legends. Howard Hughes lived enough in his early years that his later, more depressing years are just about ignored without being insensitive or incomplete. A brilliant choice of editing.
This dazzling biopic of Hughes' rise to fame and fortune pairs perfectly with Scorsese because he manages to do what most others think can't be done: He created a 3-hour epic that flies by...just like the Spruce Goose. Bravo to all involved.