Friday, December 5, 2008

Movie review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Warning: minor spoilers ahead
Last night, I went to a press/public pre-screening of David Fincher's new film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald story of the same name, and set to release on Christmas day, it stars Brad Pitt as the titular character who is born looking like and has characteristics of an 80 year-old man (though in an infant body). Essentially, he grows younger rather than older, forced to watch the people he cares about going in the opposite direction as him.
He is adopted by an African-American senior-citizen caretaker in New Orleans in the beginning of the 20th century, and grows up (or down, rather) through several decades, all throughout the world.
I won't say more than that, because people need to see this movie. At 167 minutes, I know this is a lot to ask from people. But trust me, it is absolutely worth it. Pitt's acting (especially his accent in the voice-overs) is flawless, and love intrest Cate Blanchett is as beautiful as ever (especially in the scene where she is in a red dress). The score is beautiful as well.
But perhaps most importantly, David Fincher's direction is what stands out. The way he progresses through Pitt's de-aging process and the decades alongside them is nothing short of amazing. This is entirely unlike anything he's ever done. As the director of movies like Fight Club and Se7en, this isn't fully surprising. But the fact that he genre-hopped so well is.

Final thoughts
The ending to this movie is one of the saddest I have ever seen. Blanchett's acting in the final scene is something that I personally would deem Oscar-worthy. But the problem is, being released on Christmas day, it is unable to compete in the 2008 Oscars. It'll have to wait a full year until it can be nominated or even considered for anything. Fans of Fincher's previous works will know that this happened with his phenomenal film Zodiac last year. It was released in March, and was forgotten about by the time the awards came around. I think that this same thing will happen to Benjamin Button, though I hope it doesn't.
If this movie isn't remembered for its incredible story and amazing performances (along with fantastic cinematography), it will be remembered as a film that broke new ground in CGI and makeup effects.

Rating: 9/10
Fincher dazzles with a film that is as beautiful it is timeless. One of the best of the year.


Anonymous said...

Uh.. I'm not sure if you know this but Benjamin is indeed illegible for the Oscars. Early screeners where sent out to the AMPAS already and Benjamin is actually the frontrunner at this moment. There Will Be Blood had a similar release date so NO, the cut off to the academy is NOT December.

T. Walters said...

Sorry for overlooking that. I apparently didn't do my research well enough.