Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

* * * *

The Jist
Adapted from an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the story of a boy born old, who from the time of his birth ages backwards from an elderly man to a young infant. His life is full of unexpected events, as he encounters people and situations from a unique perspective.

What's Good
David Fincher's mid-late nineties stretch of great films is ten years behind him, but with Benjamin Button, the man who adapted the mind-trap that was Fight Club has showed that he can also adapt an emotional, heart-wrenching tale. Benjamin Button is an epic in terms of length and vision, and with the help of veteran screenwriter Eric Roth, Fincher has created an enduring and enjoyable fable. Having the likes of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett as leads surely helps, and both deliver the performances audiences have come to expect. Pitt steps up to plate for the demanding role and plays the title character from old age to prepubescence with nuance and affection. Blanchett once again reminds us she is the best actress of her time by bringing much more to the role than the what was written on the page. Taraji P. Henson, as Benjamin's adoptive mother, steps into the limelight with an intimate, motherly performance well beyond her actual age in years and wisdom. The strength of Benjamin Button lies in the story, however, which is well crafted by Roth and will appeal to a broad audience.

What's Not
The most obvious fault of Benjamin Button is its length. Roth and Fincher popped off the delete key to take Fitzgerald's short story and turn it into a nearly three hour long epic. Its hard to say which scenes shouldn't have made the final cut, but its clear that the story wouldn't have lost too much with about thirty minutes less material. Comparisons have been made to Roth's past screenplay, Forrest Gump, and the similarities are legitimate. Substitute a mentally challenged lead with a reverse-aging man, and most of the themes and even circumstances are very similar. Although the story is engaging, Fincher rounded off the sharp edges that can be found all over his past work. Chances were taken from a technical aspect, but thematically and artistically, Benjamin Button is pretty conservative and looks like a safely made film meant to make some money.

What You'll Remember
Movie-goers have become accustomed to outrageous special effects, but the costume and design team for Benjamin Button pulled off one the most unique and challenging tasks in a non-action film to date. Thanks to incredible prostheses and costume design, the star-power of Brad Pitt fades away into a geriatric man, and a mere two hours later, Pitt, who is in his 40s, looks not a day older than 16. The combination of Pitt's believable performance and the stunning make-up job make Benjamin Button a very memorable character. The best part of the film, though, is the source material. Fitzgerald's fable, even if extended hundreds of pages beyond the original, will resonate with nearly everyone, and the idea of celebrating life rather than destroying it is one not often found in popular cinema. Even if Fincher and Roth played it close to the belt, the story and moral behind Benjamin Button is one most viewers won't soon forget.

Good for: the average movie fan, Pitt fans, someone down on their luck

Bad for: people who don't like long films, people who cry at movies

The Gallery
The Surfer: * * *


Anonymous said...

Hello friends, nice post and fastidious arguments commented here, I
am really enjoying by these.

Look into my homepage tauchermaske mit sehstärke

Anonymous said...

When someone writes an piece of writing he/she keeps
the image of a user in his/her mind that how a user can be aware of it.

Therefore that's why this piece of writing is great. Thanks!

Also visit my blog ... teich anlegen []