Just before World War I, the young Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) inherits a fortune in the shape of his father's drill bit company. He begins to use up rather a lot of that fortune on a war movie set in the air, Hell's Angels, doing his own aerial stunts and starting to design his own planes. The film's success brings him celebrity status and the company of stars like Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett) and later Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale). As Hughes reaches further and further into the future with his aviation plans and his revolutionary designs, Trippe and his Senate lap dog, Senator Owen Brewster (Alan Alda) force a Senate Committee hearing designed to stop Hughes' TWA from competing on major international routes. But Hughes, despite his unstable mental condition, refuses to buckle.

Scorsese beautifully captures Howard Hughes' achievements.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Howard Hughes in the most public period of his life. Inheriting his father's fortune, Hughes embarks on an independent film career, staging the most adventurous aviation picture of the time, Hells Angels. Hughes was also a pioneer of aircraft design, driven by a vision of international travel for the masses. The man was larger than life and so were the women by his side – one being Katherine Hepburn played by Cate Blanchett.

DiCaprio and Blanchett manage to pull off these difficult roles with great sensitivity and energy.

Dicaprio and Blanchett manage to pull off these difficult roles with great sensitivity and energy. But this is by no means a thorough exploration of Howard Hughes. He had a dark side in which his obsessive compulsive nature eventually isolated him from the world. Scorsese only takes us to the beginning of his decline preferring to celebrate his achievements. Using precision model work and meticulous set design, Scorsese lifts Hughes out of his madness and gives him back to the world with the respect he deserved. This is magnificent filmmaking.