Actually, DiCaprio’s excellent, gaining depth and subtlety as Hughes ages. One may question the wisdom of having Cate Blanchett mimic Kate Hepburn – though it’s a very good impersonation, it means one’s continually comparing it to the original, instead of simply accepting her as a character, as one does with Kate Beckinsale’s Ava Gardner – but the cast (which includes Alec Baldwin, John C Reilly and Ian Holm) generally perform beautifully, though mostly in minute roles. In terms of time, space and impact, it’s the lead’s film, and he’s far better here than in ‘Gangs of New York’.
So is Scorsese, coming into his own when his hero cracks, steering the mise-en-scène into an expressionist register reminiscent of films by Michael Powell or Nick Ray. There’s some early Hawks, Sternberg and Sirk in there too, which suggests the richness of a visual/narrative style entirely in keeping with the subject. After all, Hughes wasn’t just about money, planes and cleavages; he made movies too, which clearly makes him okay in Marty’s book.