Cinema Consults: THE AVIATOR

Physician's Money Digest, August 2005, Volume 12, Issue 12

This film, which can be rentedfrom your local video store, israted on a scale of 1 to 4 caducei:

THE AVIATOR (2004): Get outthe popcorn andtake a seat; it's timefor another epicwith Leonardo DiCaprio. For somemoviegoers thesewords can strikefear into theirhearts. For others,myself included,these words are approached withsome cynicism, a dash of trepidation,and just a little bit of hope. For thisinstallation of the DiCaprio saga,Martin Scorsese pilots a biopic of thelife and times of eccentric millionaireHoward Hughes. The tale of Hughesis fascinating and offers a feast forthe film's cinematographer (RobertRichardson snagged an Oscar) in thecapturing of death-defying aerialstunts. My problem with the film isthat it turns Hughes into a tragichero and glosses over his less-than-moralproclivities. This is not to saythat I do not feel compassion.DiCaprio does a very good job ofeliciting sympathy for Hughes as hebattles mental illness. However, thisshould not excuse his very troublingshortcomings. Although movies ofgreat length are normally not a petpeeve for me, I did feel that this onedragged on a bit, especially whenCate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburnwas no longer part of the story'saction. Blanchett was delightful becauseshe did more than mimic thehighly stylized starlet; she really createda flesh and bone character thatwas charming and believable.

Rating: 2.5

Lisa A. Tomaszewski, managing editor of

Physician's Money Digest, is currently

working on her PhD in literature at Drew

University in New Jersey. She is an avid

fan of film and has taught a summer film

course at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

She welcomes questions, comments, or

suggestions for future film reviews at

732-656-1140 ext 195 or ltomaszewski@ascendmedia.com.