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My name is Benjamin Button, and I was born under unusual circumstances
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (DVD)
Member Name: pmcds
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (DVD)
Advantages: Acting, special effects, sets
Disadvantages: The plot continues in a slow and progressives pace, nothing massively spectacular
That having been said, I didn't find it astoundingly amazing, by any means. It is incredibly well shot, acted and presented, but there was nothing in the story that really astounded me. Sure, it's worth listening to the advice about watching with a box of tissues, as it does have its moments, but there's nothing to shock, and not much twisting and turning.
It's essentially a description of the life of Benjamin Button, who was born an old man and lived his life in reverse, progressing backwards through age as we know it. He intersects his life with others around him, and as they come to terms with his curious case, we see the emotional effects this all has on them and on him. Decisions are often hard, as it must be to watch someone grow old as you are growing younger. And then, vice versa, it must be hard to watch someone growing younger as you mature.
Based on an F Scott Fitzgerald short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of those films that has a very interesting concept and is wonderfully presented without doing too much. It relies on the cast very much, and is rewarded for doing so. Brad Pitt plays Button from the very start, and the special effects are very good to bring his facial expressions and features and physical movements to the body and face of a very old man and a very young one. The actor himself performs the role with great gravitas, showing emotional ability on screen that I hadn't seen from him since his earlier acting days when he did things like 1994's Legends of the Fall.
He is ably partnered by Cate Blanchett as Daisy. Striking up a curious love affair, they first meet when Benjamin seems a very old man, and Daisy is a young girl. The relationship between the two on screen is fantastic as the ages converge and then part once more, and it is these two who make the film so powerful in the emotional stakes.
The support cast also does a good job, from the recognisable faces such as Jason Flemyng and Julia Ormond, to the less recognisable such as Taraji P Henson, who does wonderfully as Benjamin's adoptive mother, Queenie.
The film makes you think, and wonder how painful it would be to either live your life that way round, or be close to someone experiencing it. Its emotional pull with the plot is well backed up by some excellent artistry with the sets, particularly those in the 1930s and 1940s. In fact, the devlopment of the surrounding set through the decades is very well worked.
But it is the transformation of Pitt and Blanchett to take them through their age transformations that really wowed me as a viewer. I couldn't get over how each age is recognisable as the two stars, despite the obvious physical amendments on screen, with the special effects crew obviously having a huge hand in creating a realistic impression of both performers as young and old people, both in terms of visual and when moving. It's simply brilliant.
Yet, as I said at the beginning, the actual film itself isn't particularly astounding. Sure, elements are brilliant, but the whole enjoyment of it as a film, with the plot, isn't as high as I thought it would be. I very much liked it, and despite it being close to 3 hours long, I found the time whizzed by without so much as a breath missed. It felt like an hour and a half, and one of things I was actually worried about was how long it would be. I needn't have worried.
I highly recommend you watch this film. It is very very well produced and acted, and David Fincher directs it fabulously. I imagine his job was made all the more easier by the impressive acting, sets and special effects, but there was still a job to do, and it was done very well indeed. The whole thing is impressive, although the plot itself merely plods along describing the development of life, albeit in a backwards way! The copy I received contained no extras, although I would indeed be interested in watching some extras were a copy to present itself to me.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is currently available to buy from amazon.co.uk for £6.88. It's a good price for such a good film, and well worth the watch. It may wow you in some ways, it may be quite plain in others, but there's no doubting its high quality, through and through. Recommended.
Summary: Very good emotional drama: have a box of tissues to hand....