The Aviator:Martin Scorsese’s biopic starring Leonardo DiCaprio follows the colourful life of American business magnate Howard Hughes, one of wealthiest men in the country, who had his fingers in some of the meatiest pies of the era – Hollywood and aviation. The original playboy, Hughes romances the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Ava Gardner when he is not busy designing and test flying the latest prototype. Even as he purchases and expands Trans World Airlines, his OCD slowly but surely takes over his life – his phobia of dirt and germs frequently reduces him a helpless, quivering mass and psychotic episodes leave him repeatedly ranting inane phrases. He produces his first high-budget film (Hell’s Angels) when he is still 22, develops reconnaissance planes and troop transport crafts for the military, finds himself in court charged with war profiteering and is incapacitated for months after an ill-fated test flight, all the while battling a steadily worsening obsessive compulsive disorder.
Social Network: The story of Facebook, which in such a short while imbibed itself firmly into the social lives of over 845 million people worldwide, is told through the three separate lawsuits that Mark Zuckerberg faces at various times since Facebook’s inception. It is inspiring to watch how this decade’s, and probably even history’s, biggest success stories was born out of one drunken night in the dorm. The movie has received critical acclaim for its screenplay, which moves smoothly from the hearings to the lives of the people deeply involved in creating the social network site – primarily, Zuckerberg’s partner and later CFO, Eduardo Savrin, the true blue Harvard gentleman twins – Cameron and Tyler Winklewoss – and the wild, brash and unpredictable Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster, who was one of the first people to recognise the true worth of Facebook. “A million dollars isn’t cool, you know what’s cool?”, he says at their first meeting, “A billion dollars”. And he was right, it is cool; four times over.
Citizen Kane: This landmark film loosely based on the life of American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, is one of those masterpieces which is testimony to the fact that if your screenplay is superior, then no one will forget the story you are telling. The movie opens with Charles Foster Kane on his deathbed summoning up his last breath to utter the word ‘Rosemary’. Even before the snow globe he is holding slowly slips from his lifeless hands and smashes onto the floor, the audience is gripped with the suspense of who Rosemary is. The unseen reporter, Jerry Thompson, goes behind the scenes of Kane’s printing empire, his political ambitions and his distorted private life, to sniff out the story behind Rosemary – the only memory Kane’s barely-conscious mind clung on to in his last moments. The mystery remains unsolved, at least to Thompson but the discovery of its true meaning in the final scene, leaves the audience in a deep, vaguely comforting silence.