THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
DIR: DAVID FINCHER for PARAMOUNT PICTURES
STARRING: BRAD PITT, CATE BLANCHETT, TARAJI P. HENSON
Screenplay by ERIC ROTH based on the short story by F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
Cinematography by CLAUDIO MIRANDA, Original Score by ALEXANDRE DESPLAT
Editing by KIRK BAXTER & ANGUS WALL
Budget: $160,000,000 Gross Revenue: $329,809,326
While booking the tickets for this Oscar-winner, I tried not to look at the length of it. A whopping hundred and sixty minutes (okay, not that whopping, but pretty whopping considering the trailer gave away the whole plotline). I also tried to clear my mind before I entered the theatre (empty, save for a few raucous teens who had snuck in) – I didn’t want this review’s lines to be blurred by my love of David Fincher’s vibrant cinema. But, I found myself in tears by the time poor Binjamin Buttin was seventy.
Brad Pitt, head buzzing with Angie and the babies, seemed to have perfected Benjamin’s doleful gaze, and it was monumental editing and directing that, if you noticed, kept the same angle reappearing around ten to fifteen times throughout the film. Although we somewhat weighed down by partial prosthetics and a few tubes, Blanchett’s performance, too, was highly commendable in the most awkward of places, however much it slacked in what an actor might say was the easiest, least diverse spot to play. Even the girls who played young Daisy – particularly Dakota Fanning’s kid sister Elle – belted out little slices of red-haired sweetness. But if you’re watching this one for the acting, I suggest that you pay particular attention to Taraji P. Henson. After being mesmerized for a little while by her screen presence (and being able to imagine her in my room, telling me off about the state of it), I was embarrassed to leave the cinema not having known her name before I entered it. Now, I haven’t seen Vicky Christina, but I know where I would’ve put that Supporting Actress Oscar.
Backed by a notably stylish score, this loose adaptation had the most wonderful one-liners crammed into the one hundred and sixty minutes – yes, I repeated that. You know why? Because it’s a short amount of time to cram so much exuberance into. With faultless art direction, and one of my favourite aspects of a movie, cinematography, this picture is a masterpiece, stumbling only at the hurdles of the limited genre – only sensitive males allowed in, please. The editing, in particular, makes you feel almost as though you forgot something. Did David pull a splicing-Tyler in this one? We certainly hope not; a good movie should never ever, and must always leave you searching for vital flaws. Were there any?
Let’s see. There’s a hummingbird in the earlier parts of the picture, and the CGI’s a little unrealistic
And yes. That was all I could find.
With a vast gallery of accolade (but somewhat disappointingly overshadowed by Slumdog Millionaire’s feed-the-children begfest at the Oscars, the Globes, the BAFTAs and the SAG’s) – every award is well-deserved. If you’re intelligent, romantic, and ready to be surprised by the tears that spill (and trust me when I say surprised: it’s very good for the stone heart that wants to melt for an evening), then trust me when I say that your ticket fee, babysitter’s wage and the cost of dinner will all by very much worth it by the end of the night.
You’ll even sleep better for having encountered it.