The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on December 11, 2008 @ tonymacklin.net.

This inventive treatment will intrigue and fulfill some audience members. But not me. Despite general critical euphoria (90% favorable on Rottentomatoes), I found it a plodding tours de force.

Supposedly based on a F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, it is nothing like Fitzgerald. F. Scott has a lyrical, lilting style, but director David Fincher and semi-hack Eric Roth concoct a 2 and 1/2 hour trek into a hodgepodge of labored fantasy.

Fitzgerald set the story in Baltimore; Roth moves it to New Orleans, so he can witlessly include hurricance Katrina. Fitgerald is deft; Fincher this time out is ham-handed.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the tale of the birth of the title character as an old man who gets younger instead of older. It's a promising concept with which Fincher indulges himself.

Brad Pitt for much of the movie plays Benjamin, or at least his face does. Ah, that ageless CGI. Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton play the romantic interests in Benjamin's meandering life. Elle Fanning is the younger Blanchett character.

The film is beautifully photographed. Cinematographer Claudio Miranda shoots lifelessness really well.

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