Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You never know what's coming for you.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Director David Fincher has proven over and over that he is a master craftsman, so combined with the very intriguing storyline (based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald) and the excellent cast, I was looking forward to seeing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  The near three hour running time scared me a bit, but after a few friends said it was good, I eagerly went to the theater.

And I was way beyond satisfied.  In fact, parts of the film blew me away.  I loved it so much more than I thought I would.  Maybe I was just in a certain mood, but I watched in awe.  First, I need to mention Brad Pitt's performance.  At the beginning of the film, when Benjamin is an old man on the outside but a little kid on the inside, Pitt's nuanced, perfect performance stole the show.  He really displayed the heart of a child, from his facial features to his intonations. As Benjamin gets older internally but younger on the outside, Pitt becomes more like the actor we all know, but here too he shows the proper heart and passion for a man with this most curious affliction.  And of course Cate Blanchett masters her role, as she always does.

Now for the effects . . . This film is a wonder to behold.  The technology involved in the transformation is mind-boggling.  For example, the early scenes are filmed using 4-6 cameras with another (little) actor who was apparently wearing a green-screen hood.  Then Brad Pitt acted the head and face parts (also filmed with 4-6 cameras) and his head was superimposed onto the little actor's body.  And the result is seamless and fascinating.  Special effects perfection.  And then, late in the film when Benjamin is old on the inside but young in body, Brad Pitt looks like his did 18 years ago in Thelma and Louise, and then even younger.  I suppose through a combination of make-up and CGI, Pitt's real-life years are stripped away, and he becomes a 20 year old man (but Pitt plays him effectively as a 20 year old man who is really in his 60s).

Benjamin's story is a long and complicated one, but he touches the lives of those he meets and teaches them important lessons about starting over.  Of course we know where his sad journey will end, but how it gets there is beautiful and heartbreaking.  I cried a lot, I laughed a lot (especially at the lightning guy), and I was just really moved by this film.


At 11:57 PM, Blogger Tom posited...

i just got back from the theater. what a great movie this is. what an awfully awfully sad movie it is.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Tom posited...


one time when i was just driving my truck, minding my own business.

At 1:25 PM, Blogger scott w posited...

I think this is related to an older post, but did anyone see the Oprah interview with Kate Winslett where Oprah talked about her breasts a little too much? What was that about???


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