Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A review of David Fincher's film

Based on the 1921 story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald, this is the unusual story of a man who is biologically growing younger. His own experience takes the shape of an old school fairy tale, a journey through a life lived backwards that sets him against a number of complications, touching events and emotional adventures.

God knows if the critics who slammed it as a "sanitised view of life and death" or "Forrest Gump goes backwards" were expecting another instalment of Saw instead. Or perhaps some action movie filmed at 200 mph. Because The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is obviously none of the above. It's a fairy tale, but it is so without ever being over the top or bollocksy, and you may have to try really hard not to fall under the spell of its poetic power and its series of touching questions about mortality. It may tally at 2 and half hours and may also contain a couple of trademark dial-a-cringe touches (the hummingbird bit at the end), but it's nigh-on impossible not to get involved from start to finish.

Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett confirm their status as some of their generation's top actors. As their characters experience a series of emotional paradoxes, they are absolutely hypnotic in the way they portray our irredemable inclination for regretting what we routinely take for granted.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is destined to become a classic. Its lack of gimmickry and speed is almost one that hails from another era. Which is why, perhaps, it didn't fare as well as some hoped at last week's Academy Awards.


Madam Miaow said...

I'm looking forward to seeing this, Claude. Thanks for the review.

I thought that once David Lynch had ended his weirdofest Blue Velvet with the sinister mechanical bird, this would have spelled the end of such a mawkish cliche. I don't suppose it was an ironic humming bird? :-)

Anita said...

Isn't Brad Pitt just adorable there :-P. Great movie.

socialist sam said...

You kiddin' me?
A film without a single car chase and with a length of over 1h 30m?
Oh, alright, I hear there were some explosions though. I may head to the pictures and watch it then.