The Aviator seems to be about planes, which, for all their historical significance. don't really interest me. It's the portrayal of Howard Hughes that keeps the film going. Here he is always hanging over complete madness, sometimes dipping his foot into it but crawling back out again. This isn't the usual case of 'power corrupts', it's not the one-way trip that I was expecting. The aviation politics and the filmmaking and the women surround his madness and sometimes help it along, as he appears to order multi-million dollar projects on a whim. There are some interesting stylistic choices too; Scorsese chose to colorize the first fifty minutes in red and blue, creating an apparently historically but surreal look. Add to that to the almost constantly spiralling music and Hughes seemed to be moving through a strange 1930s dream world.
DiCaprio gives a typically enjoyable performance, and there's an interesting supporting cast - including, brilliantly, Alan Alda. On the other hand, Cate Blanchett (cough) gives a very annoying performance. I can't blame her for a supposedly accurate, if slightly exaggerated, portrayal of a real person, but the character was mind grating. A small point of criticism on a decent film.