Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss

This might sound cliché, but I am speaking with total sincerity when I say that movies like this are one in a million. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, is the latest film by director David Fincher. The film follows the premise set up in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story of the same name and focuses on the life of title character, Benjamin Button, who is born an infant with the physical condition of an old man, but becomes physically younger as he ages. It is indeed an odd premise and certainly no easy endeavor to attempt to chronicle an entire life; but like most things in this movie, its ambition is what holds together this charming tale of life, love and loss.

As I previously stated, almost everything about this film is ambitious. Director David Fincher once again proves he is both willing and able to take on huge risks in his filmmaking in order to push the envelope past the typical garbage that is a majority of big releases. You can see a near tangible maturation of Fincher’s ability as a filmmaker as he weaves together brilliant camerawork, acting and writing into a deeply satisfying and engrossing tale. Huge props to Fincher who came into this film as a personal favorite of mine and exited as, in my opinion, one of the finest directors in modern cinema.

Actor Brad Pitt also deserves one hell of a pat on the back as well. In quite possibly his most ambitious role to date, Pitt is tasked with portraying Button in nearly every stage of his life. He performed marvelously; crafting a character in which we see dramatic changes in his worldview and personality, and yet, stays true to who he is as a person. With a little help from the flawless work of the makeup department, Pitt proves why he is still one of the most sought after actors in the world.

Another major aspect of the film that stood out to me is just the pure grandeur of its scope. Encompassing quite literally, the entire life of a man, Benjamin Button goes beyond what many would believe possible in the timeframe of a single movie. While the narrative structure may feel a bit similar to films like Forrest Gump and Big Fish, those movies’ structures are nowhere near the balancing act that is Benjamin Button. The way the film entwines in-depth analysis of moments and relationships in Button’s life with faster paced sequences and montages to create a stunning view of a life, is nothing short of amazing.

Like most any piece of art though, there are indeed some flaws—mostly some pacing issues due to the ridiculous scope of the film. Clocking in at over two and a half hours, Benjamin Button does tend to feel a bit too slow and cumbersome at some points in the film. While some of the more “extended” incidents in Button’s life are extremely interesting, others felt a bit too long. Overall though, these occurrences are not especially common and are really only noteworthy due to the long runtime of the film.

All in all, Benjamin Button is a portrayal of life. Not an easily digestible, feel-good tale, but one that truly explores the full range of emotions and ideas and that encompass a person’s experience of life. It is about joy as much as it is about sadness, about love as much as it is about losing those we care most about. As the awards season rolls around, Fincher, Pitt and this film should definitely not be far from the minds of the voters. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button pulls no punches and delivers to us an epic story that is nothing short of riveting, beautiful and memorable. It may not be the best film this year, but the journey it takes you on is one that will live on in your thoughts for a great deal of time to come.

 

Ratings for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Rating (out of 10 )
9.3
Overall Score
Epic Win

 

Ryan Matsunaga's picture
Ryan is the head blogger at 8CN. He really likes pancakes. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanMatsu
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