Thursday, January 1, 2009

Review - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button follows the life of a child who was born under very unusual circumstances. The infant appeared to have the health and genetics of a male who had lived an 80 year lifespan. A peculiar condition in which Benjamin, instead of growing older, would grow younger. The adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story chronicles Benjamin's 80 years, the lives he intersects with along the way and the impact they make on his rare life.

Director David Fincher uses Eric Roth's screenplay to present in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a magnificent story that is both magical and captivating from the first frame to the final credits. The enchanting tale unfolds in a wonderful narrative fashion that instantly pulls the viewer in, keeping them absorbed and clinging to the chapters of Benjamin's life, as they unfold. Fincher's direction is powerful and never waviers throughout the surprisingly well paced 166 minute film.

Brad Pitt delivers a charming performance as Benjamin Button that is highlighted by his work as the awkwardly aged adolescent. Pitt's bewitching innocents matched with the uncanny cgi motion capture, that created Benjamin's backward aged apperance, is absolutely fascinating. While Pitt's wide-eyed performance stuns while he's a youngster, each of the various stages to Benjamin's life are impressively portrayed by the 45 year old actor. Pitt personifies each stage with a suttle grace that effortlessly captures the varying mindsets that come with the different stages in a 80 year life.

All the characters that surround Benjamin in his various stages of life are delightful in characterization and are magnificently played by the supporting cast. Benjamin's mother by circumstance, in a more than graitifying role, is joyously played by Taraji P. Henson (Smokin' Aces). Jared Harris (I Shot Andy Warhol) in a rousing and tantalizing portrayal, plays Captain Mike. A tugboat captain that Benjamin works for as a backwards teen and into his twenties. Harris and Pitt share some laugh filled scenes that are both heart warming and telling to Benjamin's progression as a man. Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) in typical ice cold fashion plays a married woman who spends her evenings with Benjamin and her scenes with Pitt are seductive and evoke memories of our first relationships. Like Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett's character is chronicled from the age of seven into her 80's. Blanchett plays Daisy from her twenties through her golden years and delivers a bitter-sweet performance that is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Blanchett and Pitt when together on screen, feel like a match made in heaven and when their characters a apart, you feel the same emotional wrought they burden. The love that Benjamin and Daisy share in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is gripping to say the least and is matched by fetching performances from the esteemed actors.

All three of the cinematography, cgi/motion capture and score are absolutely brilliant throughout The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Each one grapples the viewer into the story and holds their attention in demanding manner. The culminating result of amazing direction, captivating performances, mesmorizing cgi and cinematography, and incredible storytelling is a flawless joy to watch. David Fincher in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button creates an epic movie going event that is sure to not be easily forgotten and makes a strong case for Best Picture of the Year.