Arman's Review of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Initial Score: 8.5
-Most people take the luxury of there time on Earth for granted, because it's inherently more difficult to appreciate what's common rather than what isn't. We know the roses are there and we probably have a good idea of what they smell like but how often do we take the time to stop and find out for ourselves rather then rely on any preconceived notions? The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button is a love letter to those who contemplate the meaning of life and the roles of others within ours only to show how the latter universally defines the former.
-David Fincher one of the greatest living directors is known mostly for having a slick, efficient style that showcases both technical and lavish flourishes similar to that of Alfred Hitchcock goes in what initially appears to be the opposite direction with this latest effort. All of his films up until now while differing wildly in content have in common a pessimistic outlook on life stemming from a dark heart. This is undoubtedly not a coincidence, David Fincher uses the movie watching experience as an outlet to showoff extreme examples of reality's cruel truths that factory sealed and bubble wrapped feel good vehicles that are all to common in Hollywood try so hard to make us forget until the credits roll.
It revolves around the life of a man who is born with the body of an old man and physically ages backwards, nearly the entire movie is devoted to showing the audience life through his point of view. If such a fantastical premise no one can empathize with Benjamin's condition however, we can sympathize with his internalized feelings
Love is universal, a fairy tale romance married with the ugliness reality often surprises us with.
-There are a smattering of themes packed in but primarily this is a film about death or more specifically it revels in the hardships of life through the eyes of a man for whom age is in one form or another a life long prison. The lives of Benjamin and Daisy are intertwined from the time they meet till death but it isn't until they "meet in the middle" are they truly right for each other. The time they share together as a happy couple is fleeting due to the difference in aging and the consequences that arise from Benjamin's case. This in turn makes the time they do share that much more important and as they come to realize this everything falls into place accordingly though not for the betterment of there lives.
-It's very easy to dismiss Benjamin as an uninteresting character with no personal depth but to make this claim is an oversimplification. So many experiences (mostly bad) and all he can do is quietly soak it all in and process it internally because all he wants is what everyone wants; to be with the person he loves and experience what life has to offer in the meantime.
-In his signature style Fincher (my favorite director) delivers a long tale of epic scope encompassed in a gritty, melon colic decaying flavor. This time however, he injects enough fantasy, whimsy, love, and overall positiveness to make it stand out like a thorn compared to his previous work as well making the sad moments that much more significant.
-Curious will inevitably draw comparisons to Forrest Gump considering Eric Roth wrote the screenplay for both and there's just enough Forrest in Benjamin to be faintly recognizable but it benefits instead of impeding on it. Also I have to give Roth more respect for being able to so eloquently adapt F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story into modern times without losing any of the poignancy or vision his story has.
-I liked how Fincher grounded this tale by reminding the audience of hurricane katrina every so often so that his sprawling epic doesn't ever lift itself too high to be touched by Fincher's obvious unflattering intentions.
-Visually it's perfect. Fincher's unique dark and rotting art style is apparent throughout the film but at the same time there is so much detail from the scenery to the time periods shown to Benjamin's body and facial morphs, it's a technical masterpiece.
-A few clever touches I noticed; The backwards ticking clock showed at the beginning and end representing Benjamins life, the hummingbird's 2 appearances represent learning from your past, and the music progressed with the times throughout Benjamin's life.
-the running gag of a man struck by lightning 7 times was one of the best parts of the film. While the short scenes were funny enough they were also significant echoing Benjamin's mother's lesson: "You never know what's coming for you" (unless you're watching a movie you've already seen.)
-The cast couldn't have done a better job. Pitt really makes for a person who takes in the lessons and experiences the people he meets teaches him never having to try selling his performance and instead makes it natural. Everyone in the supporting cast does an equally wonderful job as well most notably Cate Blanchett, Taraji P.Henson, and Jared Harris.
-This is a memorable period piece because it embraces the expansive time line it inhabits. A few scenes may have not been as engaging as others but overall an ambitious idea depicting Fincher's signature themes organically. Not the least of which is the last scene where he pulls at the heartstrings and we're happy to be instruments used in this orchestra of emotions.