Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008)

Young At Heart

- Like some of David Fincher's previous works, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008) might give you the creeps but unlike those films (Seven (1995), Zodiac (2007)) it will not scare you. Fincher's full-out fantasy film is really good with unique perspectives on life, love, age, and death.

An old woman lies dying in her hospital bed in 2003 New Orleans. To comfort her in her final hours, she asks her accompanying daughter to read from the diary of a man she knew named Benjamin Button. Benjamin is not a normal person as one would perceive "normal" to be: 99.99% of the world is born young and grows old - Benjamin is that leftover .01% that is born old and dies young.

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button is a really good film but it is not without some problems. The film tells an interesting story of Benjamin Button but it does so by first telling the pointless sub-story of Monsieur Gateau and his weird clock and then bouncing back and forth like a lazy game of pickleball between the interesting fantasy tale of Benjamin's life and the flat-lined story of the dying Daisy in the hospital. The film would have been much better if it had simply told the story of Benjamin Button without the cheap story-telling gimmick. Also, while The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button is not a complete rip-off of past films, there is a large amount of cinematic déjà vu (Forrest Gump (1994) and Big Fish (2003) especially).

However, plenty of admirable aspects make The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button a very good film. When the film is telling the story of Benjamin Button (which it does for a majority of the time) the story is very entertaining and engrossing. Rarely do we see a person's life shown to us this way: since Benjamin ages from old to young, we watch his life go forwards and backwards at the same time. The acting is great from the stars to the supporting actors. Brad Pitt gives one of the best performances of his career as Benjamin Button, showing great skill in performing an old child and young middle aged man, and Cate Blanchett is in top form as Daisy. What is especially astonishing about The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button is the look of the film. The cinematography is great but it is the special effects that are the most impressive, they are so amazing you watch and wonder how in the world they were achieved! This alone makes The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button one of those "gotta see" films.

CBC Rating: 8/10

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