The Aviator – Ending Explained & Film Analysis

“The Aviator” – a film about a man who is used to being a bird of high flight

The Aviator, directed by Martin Scorsese, is an artistic take on one of the most important periods in the life of Howard Hughes. The latter at one time was one of the most authoritative and recognizable Americans around the world, Richard Nixon even called him “the most powerful man in the world.” It was Howard Hughes that Stan Lee used as a prototype for the creation of Tony Stark – one of the most famous characters in the Marvel Universe. He was a man who inherited a huge fortune, distinguished by incredible charisma and no less incredible genius. Moreover, Howard was a genius, if not in everything, then certainly in many ways.

The painting follows Hughes’ life from about the mid-1920s to the late 1940s. At the same time, it will not be superfluous to note that Howard lived for seventy years and died in 1976. He did direct Hell’s Angels, which is the subject of Martin Scorsese’s project, and also directed the world famous Scarface. Naturally, this refers to the original film, which was later filmed an equally popular remake with Al Pacino in the title role. Howard Hughes even received one Oscar for directing, and twice more his work was nominated for Best Picture.

This is what the actors of the original film "Hell's Angels" looked like.

This is what the actors of the original film “Hell’s Angels” looked like.

And Hughes, of course, really was directly involved in the design, construction and testing of several aircraft models (Constellation, H-4 Hercules, XF-11), which at that time were among the most advanced. However, Howard, in principle, was engaged only in innovative, breakthrough things, which had no analogues before. He also set several world aviation records and became one of the developers of the autopilot, retractable landing gear, radio navigation devices.

The real Howard Hughes with the real Katharine Hepburn

The real Howard Hughes with the real Katharine Hepburn

Of course, obsessive-compulsive disorder Martin Scorsese wasn’t invented either. This disease, accompanied by unsociability, isolation and unsociability, may have attracted so much more attention from contemporaries, rather due to the fact that it was in very sharp contrast to the behavior of Howard Hughes in his youth. His extravagance, his high-profile romances with celebrities, his explosive nature were the talk of the town until the heavy shadow of the disease fell on all this.

Creation of “Hell’s Angels”

The first major plot point in Aviator is the time when Howard Hughes, lighthearted, enthusiastic and completely confident of his success, is filming a film called Hell’s Angels. It is worth noting that the painting was worth $ 4 million, and at that time this amount was simply incredible. Until then, no one had ever spent so much money on any film project. But Howard wanted the pilot film to be made as realistic as possible, and not afraid of failure.

Howard is convinced that the film needs to be closed in order to somehow minimize losses

Howard is convinced that the film needs to be closed in order to somehow minimize losses

Perhaps this is the most surprising in him. Most of us repeatedly calculate all the risks before taking on any business, are afraid of failure and do not dare to do something global. Of course, here it is worth considering the fact that Hughes inherited most of the shares in the oil company Hughes Tool Co, thanks to which he is used to managing money much more calmly than ordinary people. Still, such expenses could be disastrous even for him.

Martin Scorsese and, of course, Leonardo DiCaprio, deeply rooted in the image of Howard Hughes, emphasize the uniqueness and eccentricity of this person’s personality. He is not sprayed on everything, burning parental money – he is extremely responsible in everything he does. He does not let the fear of failure take possession of him and affect the final result – he fearlessly rushes straight into the metaphorical hell. And, finally, he does not care at all whether someone has done something like this before him – he acts as he sees fit, and public opinion cannot break his will.

Increased interest in aviation and the design of the Hercules

All the same, the film is called “Aviator”, not “Director”. It is clear, therefore, that it was decided to embed the story of the filming of Hell’s Angels into it from a plot point of view, for the most part, to show Howard Hughes’ nascent and evolving interest in the creation of airplanes. Perhaps, if it were someone else, we would just shake our heads and think: “Boy, you will not succeed.” But we have already been told about how this man made an unprecedentedly expensive film and earned twice as much money from it than he invested. So we just look and think: “Can he really succeed in this?”

Hughes is not afraid to take the wheel himself.

Hughes is not afraid to take the wheel himself.

Of course, the culmination of the plot of this film comes almost at the end, when “Hercules”, upon the fall of which Howard promised to leave the United States, nevertheless takes off and turns out to be a fully operational plane. For a modern person, it looks quite common, but for the first half of the twentieth century, many of the technologies used to create it were revolutionary. We reach the climax through numerous demonstrations of how Hughes’ mental disorder progresses, and all the more impressive is his success. And this is all – against the backdrop of the Second World War, pressure from the Department of Defense, the Senate and the FBI.

Howard Hughes disease

During the first hour of the film, any viewer, perhaps, simply cannot believe that something can interfere with this person. He looks so determined and successful, it seems that whatever he undertakes – he is guaranteed success. Frankly, if you have not read the description of the film, then at first you may even doubt that the director and the scriptwriters will be able to create a conflict of sufficient tension in this film.

Howard's disease progressively progresses over time.

Howard’s disease progressively progresses over time.

But, as you know, our most dangerous enemies are ourselves. In the case of Howard, the main obstacle on the way to the goal is not even problems with the government and law enforcement agencies, not the laws of physics or money, but his illness. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness in which a person constantly has frightening, disturbing, obsessive thoughts, forcing him to repeat the same actions many times or even bring himself to exhaustion. What is irrelevant to a healthy person can be extremely stressful for a patient with such a disorder. But even that doesn’t stop Hughes.

Female images in the film “the Aviator”

In conclusion, it is worth noting something without which this film would not be as complete to about the same extent as without a sufficiently detailed and plausible depiction of the symptoms of Howard’s disease. Cate Blanchett and Kate Beckinsale are responsible for the female characters in this picture, who got the characters of Katharine Hepburn and Ava Gardner, respectively. The first appears periodically throughout the film, as if created in order to sometimes burst into Hughes’ life with the colors and smells of spring. The second appears only in the second half of the picture, differs in a much more restrained character, but, nevertheless, at the right moments manages to become a support for Howard.

Katharine Hepburn's image runs like a red line throughout the film, although she never becomes Hughes' wife

Katharine Hepburn’s image runs like a red line throughout the film, although she never becomes Hughes’ wife

Incredible people, incredible time, incredible events and amazing acting – this is how this film can be described. It lasts almost three hours, but upon completion you do not regret a single minute you spent watching it.

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