Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

An emotional rollercoaster to say the least. The film opens with old Cate Blanchett on her death bed with Hurricane Katrina happening outside. It's bleak, and stays that way; the plot's main concern is the theme of loss and the fleeting nature of life and human experience. It's deep, but rough. I found it a pretty moving experience, and I can see why this connected with certain viewers as deeply as it did.

Craft wise, the film's near perfect. The epic nature of the film is more than deftly handled by David Fincher, and there are several set pieces that are flawlessly executed. The production design, costuming, and music are all top notch and very evocative of the storybook nature of the film. Dialogue even has some nice Hemingway-esque touches here and there. Pitt and Blanchett are both phenomenal in all of their ages, and Taraji P. Henson is really one of the most likable actresses working today, and shows it here. Tilda Swinton has a wonderful turn as a married English woman who has an affair with Benjamin; if the film has a flaw, its that the initial beats of Pitt and Blanchett's relationship do not match up to the sophistication and charm of his and Swinton's scenes together.

Without having Slumdog Millionaire, I can't say for sure whether this deserved Best Picture over that...but it certainly seems that way. Highly recommended.

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