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Fantasy The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Genre Fantasy
Year: 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a fascinating film from the mind of David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club). Fincher’s translation is emotionally taut and harnesses the power of his partner-in-crime, Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. The story by Eric Roth follows a passage of time in American history in a similar biographical formula to Forrest Gump, however Button’s reverse aging is the concept, which works in a similar manner to David Lynch’s The Elephant Man. The film is like a dream as one man’s unique clock delivers the basis for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, set in New Orleans. At two-and-a-half hours the biographical fantasy is overly long, the concept is problematic in the last quarter and the epic story lacks heart. However its shortcomings are smoothed over by terrific performances coupled by spellbinding and Oscar-winning art direction, special effects and make up artistry.

David Fincher has always adhered to the darker side of the heart. His filmography includes: Panic Room, Fight Club, Zodiac and Seven. His fascination with the darkness still has an influence on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, however it’s swathed like an epic lifelong romance with an infusion of Forrest Gump’s charm. The lighter side of his journey is counterbalanced by death as his formative years are riddled with funerals. Brad Pitt makes an outstanding turn as Benjamin Button in his best Fincher performance. The make up sessions must have been exhausting, and Pitt makes a convincing Button in each stage of his life. He has the youthful zest of a teenager, and uses this on both sides of the age spectrum. It’s difficult to think of another actor, who could have played the role of Benjamin Button, besides a younger Hanks. He stars alongside Cate Blanchett, who is made to look 18, as she dances like a world-class ballerina. She delivers another fine performance, with a similar generational expanse to Button. Both performers depictions are strong, despite the difficulty of owning a character through the ages.

The overall feeling is that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a success. The high concept biopic fantasy formula works, despite its flaws. The special effects, costume and make up departments deliver the goods tenfold and Eric Roth’s story is original, inspiring and captivating. David Fincher’s involvement brings an overall shimmer and quality to the production, and the Pitt/Blanchett combination is formidable. However, the film lacks the same heart as Forrest Gump, feels twenty minutes too long, encounters thematic problems towards the conclusion and seems a little vulnerable without its high concept in tow. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button had the potential to be a Fincher masterpiece, yet concedes to its curiosity.

The bottom line: Epic.

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