Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

 Benjamin Button is stuck in the shadow of Forrest Gump, a film that has cornered the market on tales of the highlights of a man’s life, and how the world’s history has at times affected it. Button does not do much for itself to help this matter, mirroring Gump on many factors, such as a stint on a boat, involvement in a military conflict, a long lost love. The main difference, and it is one that should have separated Button far more than it did, is that the main character is born an old man, and grows progressively younger, the curious case from the title. Being in the title of the film would lead you to believe that it is this case that the tale would be about, yet it is retained to simply being a plot device, driving the plot rather than being the centre of it. Also, the characters lack of interest in Button’s extraordinary affliction annoyed me intensely, as did the lack of any real explanation as to how such a condition could arise.

Like Gump, Brad Pitt’s Button is a thoroughly decent man, writing post cards from everywhere he goes and giving away his last life jacket to another man. The CGI and make-up of the aging and de-aging in the film has justifiably received many plaudits, especially for the work on the two leads, Pitt and Cate Blanchett, transforming them from their late teens into their 70s and 80s. The acting too is very well realised, with both leads covering these age breadths admirably. The sepia colour scheme of the earlier years was comforting and fitted the era perfectly, but I feel the piece was too light for David Fincher, more at home in the dark and twisted psyches of more amoral characters.
All in all, Button is an astonishing achievement in CGI, but lacked originality in plotting and execution, borrowing from too many other films (Big Fish’s dying parent recounting an unbelievable story, Jack’s young man in an old body).
6/10 Choose film

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