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Friday, December 26, 2008

Review: THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON


I wanted to write this review backwards, but I tried it and it looked terrible. Oh well.

Maybe I'm just a geek, or maybe I saw Back to the Future at too young of an age, but any movie that plays with the laws of time and space is ok in my book.



I really liked the concept of this film going in. I have not read F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story off of which the film is based, but I have heard that his story is very much tongue and cheek, while this is definitely a dramatic tale.

A fairy tale. That's the best way to put it.

Benjamin Button was born under unusual circumstances. That's for sure. He's a man who was born old, and spends his life getting younger. Unlike David Fincher's other films, this does not require a lot of thinking, and is not really a complicated story. The only real brain muscles you need to work here are analyzing little metaphors and recurring symbols that weave their way throughout the film.

To say this film is superbly well made is an understatement. This is easily one of the most, both artistically and story-wise, well crafted films I have ever seen. Unlike many of the period pieces that are released these days, the music, art design, makeup, costumes, and sets take you to a truly magical place. This is what "movie magic" means. I sat mesmerized in my seat for the almost 160 minutes of film, enchanted by the very curious case of Mr. Benjamin Button. There's a couple of shots where I had to sit back and rub my eyes, to make sure they were as beautiful as they seemed. I thought this film seemed sort of similar to Forest Gump, and that's because it was written by the same guy. Eric Roth seems to have a thing for unusual people living through lots of history.

Pitt is phenomenal. I used to think of him as this guy who was the young, hot, Hollywood heartthrob that all the girls could not resist. After I saw Troy, however terrible the film was, I realized maybe there was more to him than met the eye. I left the theater after this film, and knew he was more than just special. Brad Pitt is a truly fantastic actor. He's so absorbed in the character, I didn't see Brad Pitt once. I just saw Benjamin Button. Benjamin Button from New Orleans, Louisiana. His impeccable accent adds a lot to his performance, and puts him on a whole new level of talent.

Cate Blanchett plays his love, Daisy. Blanchett is very good as well, however she is a bit undershadowed by Pitt, and audiences might forget about her performance. The only real issues I had with her role was that her true Australian accent showed up a little to often in her faked Louisiana one. Not to say her accent is bad - when she is doing it, it sounds great. But she slips up a little too much for my liking.

I also have to mention Taraji P. Henson, who is quickly becoming, in my opinion, one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood. After Talk to Me and Smokin' Aces, she has again proven herself to be a wonderful performer. I can't wait to see her in more things.

As far as I'm concerned this is David Fincher's best movie. My two favorites of his thus far, Zodiac and Fight Club are nothing compared to this one. There's not a lot I didn't like about this movie. The only things I can come up with are a couple of logistical errors (How does Thomas Button know the things he knows?), but they can be forgiven.

My final thought on this movie lies with one word: art. This movie is a work of art. And, like all great art, it can be looked at in many different ways. It can make sense to you immediately, or it can confuse you. If you feel confused by this film, don't worry. It's art.

And sometimes art can be curious.

5 stars

5 comments:

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Dan Chen said...

Wonderful movie. I'd say on par with Fight Club. Drastically different tones and themes, but both with Fincher at his best with his best material to work with.

Patrick Lundberg said...

Everytime Brad Pitt and David Fincher meet up the result is amazing.

I loved this movie. It may have been my second favorite new movie of 2008.

Lily said...

I read the Fitzgerald short story before watching the movie, and what you have heard is correct, to an extent. The story is, in one word, short. While Fitzgerald's signature style really shines through, the story really just lends itself as a good idea Fitzgerald was playing with for fun one day.

One of the things I loved the most about this movie is that everyone involved in its production took Fitzgeralds's idea, gargled it for a while and spat out a masterpiece. I LOVED the movie for MANY reasons (most of which you already mentioned), but it especially stood out to me as a masterpiece in the world of adaptations.

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