The Aviator is one of Martin Scorsese's most unashamedly mainstream films. (Luckily, his long-awaited Oscar was for a grittier production, The Departed.) It's not traditional Scorsese territory, though neither were Kundun or The Age Of Innocence. Leonardo DiCaprio (who also starred in Scorsese's The Departed and Gangs Of New York) plays Howard Hughes in this biopic of the aviator/filmmaker.
Scorsese recreates the glitz of 1930s Hollywood, just as he did for 1970s Las Vegas in Casino. DiCaprio captures Hughes's determination and frustration, though you never quite forget that it's DiCaprio. Cate Blanchett is better, as the tomboyish, headstrong Katharine Hepburn.