Director Martin Scorsese goes grand again; this time dealing with the early professional life of Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio, WHAT’S EASTING GILBERT GRAPE?). Like Scorsese did with GANGS OF NEW YORK, he tells the grand, but troubled, life of Hughes, who took an inherited tool fortune and gambled it on risky film and aeronautic ventures, which eventually led to him becoming the richest man in the world.
The film is anchored by a stellar performance by DiCaprio, who convincingly shows Hughes’ inner demons with an irrational germ phobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Over time he develops mental blocks that he just can't get over, such as simply exiting a public bathroom, fearing the germs lurking on the door handle. The film amazingly deals with the issue of the thin line between genius and madness. I loved the way the film dealt with the character’s struggle with compulsions that he knows are irregular, but has little choice in controlling them. But this film really isn't about the neurotic Hughes that everyone remembers, but the golden boy before he got lost in he dark forest of mental disease.