The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button * * 1/2

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Director: David Fincher.
Screenplay: Eric Roth.
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Taraji P. Henson, Elias Koteas, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng, Jared Harris, Elle Fanning.

This film recieved enormous praise and awards recognition when released but personally I don’t really see what all the fuss is about. David Fincher is one of my favourite directors and his previous collaborations with Brad Pitt (“Se7en” & “Fight Club”) were superb but there is definitely something missing from this one.

Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) is a person who, when born, has the physicality of an old man and as time goes on, he ages backwards. This causes him to be something of an outcast and he can never really connect with his peers. He does, however, lead a long and fulfilling life but at the expense of watching his loved ones grow old as he grows younger.

Based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the screenplay was written by Eric Roth who also wrote “Forrest Gump” and on slightly closer inspection, you can see that it’s practically the same film. Gump was an outcast, so is Button; Gump worked on a fishing boat, so does Button; Gump was in love with a childhood friend, so is Button; Gump went off to fight in a war, so does Button, etc, etc. The list is endless and very tedious watching the same story over again, especially when it is done no better. The special effects with the ageing process are undeniably very impressive but effects alone do not a good film make. The story also seems to go on forever and I could empathise with a certain ageing process while watching it. Unlike Button though, my ageing process was not going in reverse. The performances, the direction and the look can’t be faulted but really the whole affair is rather dull.

Not a bad film, it’s just not a very good one either. A bit of a dissapointment really.

Mark Walker

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11 Responses to “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button * * 1/2”

  1. Your first sentence sums it up completely. I was completely bewildered that it got the praise it did. Highly regarded film magazine Empire even gave it 5 stars. In fact I think you are too kind in giving it 2 and a half stars. I really hate films that go on too long.

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    • I have no idea why Empire gave it 5. I think that also contributed to me being disappointed in it. It had its moments and it was a fine concept but it was laborious, man. You may be right 2.5 is a tad generous.

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    • Oh, man, men! I LOVED this film. The time shift of backwards and forwards between the two central characters was elegant and beautiful. The message, the supporting cast, the history. The side stories–so much to think about. I wonder why I was filled intellectually and you two mighty minds were bored. Funny!

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      • I have to admit, I was quite bored with it. It’s looks and feels wonderful and Fincher’s direction is strong too but it just seemed to drag. I wanted to like it but… Hey ho! 😉

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      • You and Empire are on your own with this one I’m afraid haha. It’s worse for me as I am a big fan of the Fitzgerlad too. Gone Girl was great. Fight Club, Social Network and Seven are great though, so do rate Fincher overall.

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      • Yes, I enjoy everything he has done.

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      • Not that I’m putting Fincher down here, but I wasn’t impressed with The Social Network (although a rewatch is definitely in order), Panic Room was pretty mediocre and I never really bothered with his Dragon Tattoo remake. Didn’t see the point. He’s done a few duds but he’s also done enough classics to keep me interested in his work.

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  2. I remember raving about this film to you. Ha! Sometimes great minds don’t agree. 😉

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