Saturday, December 27, 2008
Movie Reviews: THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
"I was born under unusual circumstances." And so begins "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards: a man, like any of us, who is unable to stop time. We follow his story, set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the 21st century, following his journey that is as unusual as any man's life can be. The film tells a grand tale of a not-so-ordinary man and the people and places he discovers along the way, the loves he finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time.
Cast: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng
Director: David Fincher
Opened December 25, 2008
Runtime: 2 hr. 47 min.
Rated PG-13 for brief war violence, sexual content, language and smoking
Genres: Romantic Drama, Drama, Fantasy Drama
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an ethereal tome about life and death that's mostly effective if slightly heavy handed on visual metaphors. David Fincher's latest film, a more restrained traditional turn, is visually impressive and never uninteresting. Fincher's direction moves the story at a surprisingly brisk pace never lingering too long on a specific event. A few flourishes aside, a fantastically staged sequence detailing a tragedy stands out, Fincher trust the story to do the heavy lifting even if it's familiar. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a film that resembles another one of cinemas curious characters, Forrest Gump. Scripted by Eric Roth, who also wrote Forrest Gump, this film contains a lot of common plot points and relationships throughout. Benjamin as a character is leaf in the wind experiencing life as it comes to him, a passive sort. Brad Pitt performance in the lead role is perfectly restrained and subtle; an effective display of less is more. Pitt works through the technical challenges of playing this character through a various stages of life. Cate Blanchett does fine work as well delivering a finely nuanced performance as Pitt's counterpoint. Sadly, the script is a bit on the bare side for her character Daisy. Her characters traits change abruptly without enough shown to explain the motive. Still, once she and Pitt share the screen together at their actual ages they share a naturalism that's hard to ignore. Taraji P. Henson as Benjamin's adoptive mother also shines in her role, giving the character a bit more depth than a lesser actress might. Tilda Swinton is also perfectly cast in a small role as a woman who Benjamin has an affair with. Running nearly 3 hours in length, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button swims by rather quickly but not without leaving a lasting impression.