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8 out of 10
Born with a disorder that sees him become younger as he grows older, Benjamin Button's (Pitt) life can be described as anything other than ordinary. Abandoned at birth, Benjamin's journey to infancy consists of illness, war, love and loss. Whoever said 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks' clearly hadn't accounted for this.
Having been linked to the F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation for some time, The Curious Case... sees director David Fincher reunited with his Fight Club compatriot, Brad Pitt. Apart, though they may have been for some time, the two clearly enjoy each other's company; Fincher guiding Pitt through potentially his most complete & compelling performance. As much as the prosthetics and special effects allow Pitt to play Benjamin in all his guises, it is the emotion, tenderness and curiosity that Pitt lends to the character that give him real life.
Though Benjamin's ailment is a key factor to the audience embracing the character, it is the relationships he enjoys with those he encounters on his journey (Mr. Oti, Captain Mike, Elizabeth Abbott) that allow the character to grow and the film to progress. This is none more evident than in the scenes with Daisy, played (in part) by Pitt's Babel co-star, Cate Blanchett. Their paths cross at various points in each other's lives, each meeting presenting a new obstacle that seems destined to keep them apart. And it is via Daisy that Benjamin's story comes to be told; Blanchett's on-screen daughter, Caroline (Ormond) recalling events as recorded in Benjamin's diary.
Fincher is as much an integral part to the film's success as the acting talent on show. His imaging of the elderly Benjamin, visualising the numerous locales and eras the film encompasses, as well as interspersing the sombre moments with Mr. Daws' retelling of the times he had been electrocuted, give the film a level of depth and charm comparable to Forrest Gump, Big Fish and Amelie.
Though the film wavers slightly when Benjamin encounters Elizabeth Abbott, and the accounts of Benjamin's final years feels rushed, it is easy to see why the film and Pitt have been listed for Oscar honours. While Pitt has enjoyed box office success with the likes of Ocean's Eleven (& its sequels) and Mr & Mrs Smith, he has managed to build on the critical acclaim he enjoyed for Babel and The Assassination of Jesse James.
Movie Website: www.benjaminbutton.com
Benjamin Button: Brad Pitt
Daisy: Cate Blanchett
Caroline: Julia Ormond
Elizabeth Abbott: Tilda Swinton
Queenie: Taraji P. Henson
Thomas Button: Jason Flemyng