The film starts with billionaire Hughes in his early filmmaking years as owner of RKO Pictures, producing classics like 'Hell's Angels’, ‘The Front Page' and 'Flying Leathernecks', but mostly focusing on his role in designing and promoting experimental aircraft.
Hughes was a risk-taker who spent several fortunes before eventually founding TWA as a rival to Pan Am, the airline owned by his great rival, Juan Trippe (Alec Baldwin). When Trippe's politico Senator Ralph Owen Brewster accuses Hughes of being a war profiteer, it's Hughes who gains the upper hand. Hughes also had many women in his life, including Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett), with whom he had a long relationship.
Blanchett's interpretation seems spot on, and anyone familiar with the late actress’s mannerisms will appreciate the hard work that clearly went into the re-creation. From an early age, however, Hughes was also germophobic and would have severe bouts of mental illness. Scorsese has crafted a rip-roaringly gorgeous-looking, beautifully acted biographical epic. The star cast also includes Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner and Jude Law as Errol Flynn.