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Old 12-23-2008, 04:41 AM
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Default My Benjamin Button Review

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button review

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(I have seen many films that are in award contention this year; I believe the only major Hollywood release that I have not seen that may be up for awards is Valkrye. But Button is the only film I am compelled to write a review on. But due to embargo I could only put up the review recently, since I couldn't write it a month ago when I saw it for the first time. )

Curious Case of Benjamin Button:

David Fincher continues his rise to legendary director.

After 7 years of toiling away on this project, David Fincher has finally released 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button', Based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The basic premise is that a man has been born as an old man and then progresses to age backwards. In reality it seems that it could only work for a short story or maybe a story on the twilight zone, yet Fincher and company have managed to make this film engaging throughout its 2 hours and 50 minute length.

The story takes place through out Benjamin's life, and surprisingly the number of different people in the film isn't astronomical. There's Benjamin, Daisy, and a few others scattered throughout. But the stories central focus is on Benjamin's life, and the varying amount of people that he meets in his life. Yet the main narrative drive of the film is the love life subplot, which is not tremendously romantic in the beginning.

During the duration of the film the plot does tend to feel slow, yet is always engaging. Whether it be visually or dramatically, it will be hard to take your eyes off of the film.

There are many comparisons being thrown around to another of screenwriter Eric Roth's Forrest Gump, they both have a southern boy with a disability. Who lives through turbulent decades, yet with Benjamin it doesn't seemed forced or played up for cliché it is just a story that fits. And the major difference is that Benjamin Button and Forrest Gump, is that Forrest Gump drives forward those moments in History, like calling in the Watergate break-in. He becomes involved, while Benjamin is detached from it. The supporting cast is great, not too many big names to provoke stunt casting for recognition (Like Che, where it just became a little distracting).

There is heavy awards talk concerning Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, I completely agree with Cate, who is fantastic and outshines every other actress in the film and of the year so far in leading performances, but I don't feel the same with Brad. Brad Pitt is fine in the film, not his best performance, better than his turn in Troy though. The problem is that Benjamin as a character is very removed from everyone around him. He tends to just observe and soak things up as a sponge. This becomes a problem when Benjamin gets older and still acts as if he is new to life. But since no one has experienced life like Benjamin then it is hard to compare to anything.

Once again Fincher shows how mature he has become as a filmmaker. Not to say he wasn't a top-notch director before. But Fincher is slowly moving himself away from the dark and grittiness of his earlier films (That I grew up on and loved like Se7en and Fight Club) and into a more subdued and elegant method of direction with Button and even a little bit with last years Zodiac. His longer takes and dolly moves really brings a nuance that could perhaps not of been found in older films.

No film this year (or even this decade) has moved me like this film. In all sincerity I don't get misty eyed in the theater. Last time I believe was The Lion King, but only for a moment. In the theater for Benjamin Button I legitimately had to hold back from showing tears on at least three occasions. It may have something to do with the fact that I have dealt with mortality, at this point for the majority of my life. When I see motherly loved passed to young child it will pull at my heartstrings. (I still can't finish Dumbo) I've seen the film twice, once at a screening and the other from a legally sanctioned screener, and both times I fell pray to its 'emotionality'. It was a film that I needed to see to pull myself out of my rut. I am still figuring out what I preferred this year more, The Dark Knight, which I loved as a fan boy and crime fan, or Benjamin Button, which I love as a person and hopefully a maturing adult.

All in all, Fincher has made the best film of his career. While it may not be my personal favorite of his, it is still leaps and bounds better than what other directors are putting out this year.
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:36 AM
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I cant wait too watch this film, thanks for the review..
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:22 AM
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Thumbs up

Thanks for the review.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:48 AM
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saw this on over the weekend, incredible film.

does seem to run a bit long, but i suppose it's necessary to tell the story.
brad pitt does well for what he is supposed to do (look pretty after growing younger) and doesn't need to act terribly well but does good enough.

the beautiful Cate Blanchett however, deserves the award she will win.

David Fincher has perfected his art, but i think perhaps Darren Aronofsky would have made a tad darker of a tale that i prefer.
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:59 PM
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I thought this film might be a bit overrated (and looking at RT, it seemed that the hype was a bit too much) but after reading numerous reader reviews, I really think I ought to go see this.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:17 PM
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Saw this a couple of days ago with my wife. We both really enjoyed it but thought it could have been a little shorter. Cate Blanchett was incredible as always, I've grown to expect that out of her. The makeup was believable and camera work was well done.

Incidentally we saw Tom Cruise's Valkyrie today, it was much better than expected. The director was able to make it suspenseful even though you knew the outcome.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Onslaught X View Post
I thought this film might be a bit overrated (and looking at RT, it seemed that the hype was a bit too much) but after reading numerous reader reviews, I really think I ought to go see this.
I felt it was somewhat overrated. A great story, but when you take away the aging, it's just another film. I expected more, and I think Pitt has stretched his talent much further than this. Still, a good film to see at least a couple of times.
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:20 PM
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Saw this over the weekend w/ the GF, and while it was a good (not great, far from it)
film,(amazing special/visual effects for Mr. Button) I don't think its Fincher's best film by a long shot, and feel The Wrestler & Frost/Nixon are vastly superior films that are being considered for awards. Although I do think I will see it again to see if my opinions change
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Old 12-30-2008, 06:39 PM
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I thought it was a very good film with a score that deserves an Oscar-nomination, great makeup and special effects [that do not detract from the story or believability of the story that is being told], and fine acting throughout. The first hour is about as good a first hour as any film can have. I mean it. I was enthralled. The film suffers from its length which is a necessary evil in telling this story, unfortunately. The content in the middle of the story just can't hang with its start and finish.

That said, it deserves a Best Picture nomination. I say that without having seen any of the other presumed contenders yet (other than TDK, if it manages to get a nod). There are 5 nominations to go around and I don't think there are going to be 5 movies better than this one this year.

I am seeing Milk in just a few hours though and I am going in expecting to see an Oscar-worthy performance from Penn (and possibly a film that I will champion as my favorite candidate for Best Picture this year -- if the reviews hold true). I don't think Pitt did enough to deserve an Oscar, so I agree with the OP there for sure. Blanchett perhaps... she should at the least be nominated. The actress who played Queenie was magnificent but will probably be ignored by the Academy.

Oh, and Fincher is getting robbed if he finally doesn't get a nomination for Best Director. He has deserved it at least 3 or 4 times now.

PS - Cherrygarcia - I am jealous that you've seen The Wrestler and Frost/Nixon. Neither one has come close to the Omaha metro area yet.
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Old 12-31-2008, 03:44 PM
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thanks for the review, this is at the top of my list of movies to go see.
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