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Mar 6, 2005 6:06 pm

The Aviator

I saw The Aviator yesterday and was not disappointed. Leaving aside the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the film as history, director Martin Scorcese has assembled a refreshing, vigorous, and stylized defense of entrepreneurship and competition. This is a visually beautiful film which unapologetically celebrates technology and the inventiveness of the individual creator.

Leonardo Di Caprio more than rises to the occasion by capturing the craziness, combustive energy, and genius of the young Howard Hughes. I will never say another ill word about his acting abilities.

Libertarians will also enjoy the film's two-fisted assault on big government bureaucracy, rent-seeking, and demagogic politicians. Alan Alda (always better as the villain) gives a deliciously slimy performance as Senator Ralph Owen Brewster. Brewster is shown working with Juan Trippe (played by Alec Baldwin), the smug, politically-connected president of Pan American Airlines, to win enactment of a"CAB bill" which would freeze Hughes out of Trans-Atlantic competition.

As was probably Scorcese's intention, the painstaking attention to Hughes's many phobias has the effect of making his main character more sympathetic. It completes the picture of a visionary who struggles and triumphs over adversity.

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