Rules Don’t Apply, well actually they do when it comes to filmmaking. This film was dull and unappealing, to say the least. For the majority of the film they played a game of hide and seek with Howard Hughes because he refused to see anyone, instead he would either send his employees out to handle issues he felt were unimportant; especially when people would try and give him money, or he would just simply avoid the issue by jumping on a plane leaving everything behind.
Even though the film had a lot of old and new actors in it, it could not hide from the poor, underdeveloped story that was not driven by anything that added to the film. The script had an uninteresting inciting incident, the key incident was lacking, and there were no interesting plot points throughout the film. In fact, the story was a complete bore with Howard Hughes living in a fantasy world; believing he was better than everybody else.
The only interesting part of the film was at the end of the film because you knew it was going to be over soon. The build-up to the films resolution took so long to develop, he made me think that no research had been done for this film at all. It’s like they decided to write a film with a whole bunch of historical inaccuracies that were blatantly obvious. Only two of the characters in the film were actually real employees of Howard Hughes, Noah Dietrich (Martin Sheen), and Robert Maheu (Alec Baldwin). Everyone else was added to give it that Hollywood story, but it missed its mark, terribly.
Warren Beatty’s directing is what I like to call a nice job, he really didn’t focus on the main characters of the film. When watching the film you didn’t know if the film was about Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) and Marla Mabrey (Lilly Collins) or simply about Howard Hughes flaunting his wealth in front of everyones face. That part of the film that rubbed me the wrong way. However, I figured it out from the very beginning, but again, it took so long to get there that the film lost my attention, and I kept getting more and more irritated as each scene, sequence, and act played out.
The film should get no attention from the Academy Awards when they hand out this years nominations. The film lacked the fundamental elements that made it worthy of a Best Screenplay nominee. The film lacked the artistic ability when it comes to the Best Director category, and the film is not one of the top films of this year so it shouldn’t get a Best Picture nomination. The films best performance was that of Alden Ehrenreich, but even that was overshadowed by the larger than life Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty) character which took away from an otherwise break-out performance.
Overall, I would grade the film a D; with below average script, below average directing, average acting, and an unoriginal story. I felt like I was watching an Orson Welles film, such as Citizen Kane (1941) and The Lady from Shanghai (1947), but on a less artistic level of sophistication.