Saturday, 31 January 2009

REVIEW: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

Visually and technically, this film is quite the achievement. In terms of its content however, to not say that it is anything but a disappointment is just to lie. It plays safe and behind the gimmickry and wowing effects we have a film that is in many ways simplistic and standard academy fodder. Or to put it more eloquently, it has no balls. And this coming from David Fincher! The same man who has brought us Fight Club, Seven and Zodiac, has made a film with no discernable stones. Still, I get it. Dude wants to win an Oscar, or at least get nominated. Which he did already, so well done Mr Fincher. And in fairness it is so well directed technically it wouldnt be entirely undeserved. But selling out is selling out man.

The film follows Benjamin Button, who ages Backwards. Born as an old man/baby hybrid, he gets younger as he gets older. It is an epic on off love story that flows through the 20th century, not too dis-similiar to a certain film beloved by the academy called Forrest Gump. Thus bringing me to the reason why this isnt the great film it should have been. Mr Eric Roth. Who also wrote that now seminal film, and appears here just to have ripped himself off. On a large scale. Almost entirely ignoring the Fitzgerald story from which the story gets its name, he uses Gump as a template and just changes enough so he doesn't get sued by that film's producers. But in terms of character, Benjamin is the same simpleton/innocent that gump was, always the nice and reasonable guy. Benjamin may be a smidge less mentally challenged, but the closeness is alarming. Secondly, Daisy, the film's female protagonist, abandons the small town benjamin to see the big city and have adventures and discover herself., finds it alienating and in middle age gets together with Forrest, I mean Benjamin. I make that lame joke because that's exactly what Jenny did in Gump. Ripped himself off. Anyways, it has the same sanctimonious tone as that film. Performance wise, Pitt is solid but is out-acted by his make-up. He was much better in Burn After Reading. Blanchett is ok, but has been infinately better elsewhere. Tajari Henson as Pitt's stepmother goes way too OTT and no-one else gets enough screen-time to make an impression. But Fincher carries the ball, with every shot looking suitably beautiful and as I mentioned earlier this is a technical milestone. Both Old and young Pitt are undeniably impressive to see. Disappointing because of who was involved, if anything.

To summarise, it turned out OK, but not deserving of 13 Oscar nominations. Not by a long shot. It feels wrong for me to criticise a Fincher film this way, but what else can I do. Its not a terrible film, and many may be taken in by it and find its simplistic view of things a pro rather then a con, but that just isnt the way im wired.

Rating: 7/10


veebee63 said...

Have you not reviewed milk or frost nixon - going to see this on wednesday only i have read the twenty page short story.

spiral568 said...

lol, am a bit behind because of work. all will be up this saturday