Director: David Fincher
Cast: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P.
Henson, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas, Tilda Swinton
RunTime: 2 hrs 39 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Official Website: http://www.benjaminbutton.com/
Day: 5 February 2009
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. Directed by David Fincher and starring
Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett with Taraji P. Henson, Tilda
Swinton, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas and Julia Ormond, "Benjamin
Button," is 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.
A whopping 13 Oscar nominations. The first question that pops out was that whether is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button that good or is this a very good “Jack of all trades” type of movie. After reviewing this movie, the only two categories that I felt this film was weak at would be in the Best Film Editing and Best Adapted screenplay categories.
The film edition of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has very little to do with original short story by F.Scott Fitzgerald except the reversal aging process and the name, Benjamin Button. While the original source material for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button might not be that cinematic, screenwriter Eric Roth had (in a way) rehashed his Forrest Gump material (the one that won him Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay) for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
There are far too many elements that almost screamed out “plagiarism” from one’s own work. Their uniqueness from normal people, their amazing journeys, their financial freedom, the difficult wait for their one true love and the list goes on and one.
Unlike that predecessor, this revisal Forrest Gump lacks a little something in it’s editing to bring all the various quirky and imaginative plots (main and sub) together for one good captivating flow of a tale. The film editing was one of the more fanciful manners that a film had been edited in recent years but while it made this film looked pretty, it also brought a hollow ring to it.
Even though it felt very Forrest Gump, there are moments that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button shine on it’s own. The reverse aging process of Benjamin Button stood out the most with the combination effort from Brad Pitt’s credible acting, the spectacular visual effects and the top notch make up. Watching the young old Benjamin Button really make one wonder what kind of process did the filmmakers and actor went through to bring such magic onto the big screen.
It’s also ironic to note that although Benjamin Button lived an extraordinary life in reversal, the trials and tribulation that he faced are pretty much parallel to those who lived an ordinary one. The growing pains of the youngster, the discovery of a teenager and the wisdom of a grown man are all presented in an ironic parallel fashion that made one wonder to live an extraordinary life, one don’t really need to be in similar extraordinary situation but would only need to take the path less traveled.
There are also various eccentric subplots that would sweep audience off their feet. Tales of the man who got struck by lightning seven times that often makes the audience chuckle and heartwarming tales of the miracle of the humming bird to the train station clock that goes anti-clockwise are simply unforgettable.
In a way, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button represents this period’s ode to Forrest Gump. It paints a wonderful picture of the reason for our existence in this world and even the definition of true love through the viewpoints of this special individual.
(A little too much rehash of Forrest Gump but The Curious Case of Benjamin Button still mesmerize with it’s uniqueness)
Review by Richard Lim Jr