Aviator - Review

Review of the film 'The Aviator' directed by Martin Scorsese in 2004, exploring the film editing aspects of the movie and why it received multiple nominations and won multiple awards, specifically for its editing. 

I chose to watch ‘The Aviator’, a film by director Martin Sorcsese and edited by Thelma Schoonmaker, to experience the production and editing quality of an award winning film (for best edited film of 2004), and to improve my own editing quality and knowledge. 

The movie starred actors and actresses including Leonardo Dicaprio (as the main character), Cate Blanchett (main supporting actress), John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law and Kate Beckinsale.    

It was also nominated for eleven academy awards (winning five), fourteen BAFTAs (winning four) and six golden globes (winning three).

The film is an ‘epic biographical drama’ based on the 1993 non-fiction book Howard Hughes: The Secret Life by Charles Higham, depicting the life of Howard Hughes an aviation pioneer and film director, who made the film Hell’s Angels. It portrays his life from 1927 - 1947 in which time he became a successful film producer and aviation entrepreneur, while growing more and more unstable due to severe OCD (obsessive-compulsive-disorder). 

At first the film shows itself as grand and full of ambition, which, as the story progresses, reflects Howard Hughes’ own character as determined and driven from the start. This, along with the film’s length (2h 50m), does well at creating that feeling of an epic, and the story of one man’s ambition and where that takes him. Leonardo Dicapro received high praise for his performance as Howard Hughes, and rightly so, as he perfectly portrays the millionaires’ eccentricity, drive and struggle with severe OCD through mannerisms and facial expressions fitting the feeling of the character.

Schoonmaker edited the film very well, and it's no surprise it won awards, with quick shot-changes where there needed to be, and other times a slower pace to the scenes. The fast switching of the shots especially helped portray the character’s OCD and how much it affected him. 

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the film, and would recommend it to others, with its well selected cast, brilliant progressive sequencing of scenes, compelling and realistic plot, and brilliant artistic execution of Howard Hughes’ emotion.

Header Image Credit: 'Theatrical release poster'


Caleb Ford

Caleb Ford

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  • Carol Leach

    On 22 September 2020, 06:29 Carol Leach commented:

    this is a brilliant review, very detailed and informative

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