January 4, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A clever idea which isn't explored fully to my satisfaction, Benjamin Button would remind me of Forrest Gump even if they weren't both written by the same man (Eric Roth). Much like Forrest Gump, Benjamin wanders the globe, meeting a wild variety of colorful characters along the way. More a passive observer than an active participant, Benjamin never gets happy or sad or excited or angry, he just gently smiles and shuffles along.BenjaminButton

Brad Pitt is almost as talented as he is handsome, but this script offers him zero challenges. Cate Blanchett is excellent again, as usual. I enjoyed Taraji P. Henson as Button's adoptive mother, and English character actor Jason Flemyng (Layer Cake, Snatch, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) as Button's birth father.

The special effects are excellent- the young/old Button in the early scenes is easy to watch without distraction, and the super-young Cate Blanchett is also not distracting. When Brad Pitt finally shows up, in his actual body, about halfway through, he certainly looks old, but you don't notice how much makeup and effects they're really using until he finally shows up in "as-is" condition in the last 30 minutes.

Overall, I had much higher hopes from David Fincher, the normally provocative and inventive director of the underrated Zodiac, plus Se7en, Fight Club, and Panic Room.