Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I didn't think that a movie released this year would be able to better The Dark Knight, however yesterday one did. That movie was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and let me say that it is a masterpiece and an absolute classic. Alright many people who read this are going to come away severely unimpressed because to be honest a lot of teenagers aren't going to want to sit through a three hour movie about Brad Pitt aging backwards and finding love. But that's me, I seem to have odd movie tastes for someone my age. In fact Benjamin Button seems to be pretty polarizing but I can say that I loved it. In fact so does IMDB where it currently stands at #74 of their top movies of all time.
At the start of this year I was only really excited for Cloverfield and the new Indiana Jones film. However I did eventually get caught up in the hype for The Dark Knight (I was actually quite late to that party) and I obviously loved that movie. Now I've seen a lot of movies this year I've seen a fair few movies this year, I am Legend, Cloverfield, Be Kind Rewind, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Iron Man, Son of Rambow, The Fall, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Incredible Hulk, Wall-E, Tropic Thunder, Burn After Reading, Ghost Town, RocknRolla, Hancock Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Quantum of Solace and Yes Man. Only one of them actually came close to beating The Dark Knight and that was Wall-E. However three movies were announced which I thought would give it a run for its money and they were Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. As I've said I loved Slumdog Millionaire but didn't think it was quite as good as Dark Knight and I'm saving The Wrestler until it comes out in the UK (trust me it's an exercise in patience because I physically NEED to see that movie). So my hopes rested on Benjamin Button.
It completely blew my expectations out of the water.
Benjamin Button is beautiful. I would say it is the second most beautiful movie of 2008 (Slumdog Millionaire is directed slightly better). I would say that Slumdog and Benjamin Button have some of the most gorgeous cinematography ever in a film. Which really isn't saying much as they were directed by some of the most talented people in direction at the moment. In fact every single amazing movie this year have been directed by some of my favourite directors. Christopher Nolan, Darren Aronofsky, David Fincher and Danny Boyle, if you don't know who these guys are then shame on you. Benjamin Button is just phenomenal to look at. Seriously I'm in awe. In the first ten minutes of the movie there is a scene which takes place during World War 1. The entire scene takes place in reverse with explosions going off and people coming back to life and it is just one of the visual highlights of the film.
I'm also going to have to rave about the special effects because honestly they are stunning. I'm big fan of special effects that are so little that you can't really see. Dark Knight also did this because honestly could you see the special effects? There were explosions but you can make explosions. Everything in that movie "looked" realistic as did Benjamin Button. It's also one of the reasons I thought Hancock wasn't very good (review later). No offense to Hancock but the special effects in Serenity are 10x better and they were done by a TV special effects studio. Go hang you're head in shame. Benjamin Button's special effects are really amazing because it is almost impossible to tell where they are. You know they have to be there but it's difficult to tell, there are scenes which are clearly special effects (the sub scene) but all of the characters aging (or in Brad Pitt's case de-aging) are done superbly and amazingly realistically. You can actually see the innocence of a child in 80 year old Benjamin and the world weariness in his 20 year old self and it is astounding. All though really that is all down to Brad Pitt's performance.
Brad Pitt is amazing in this movie. Brad Pitt is a weird thing in Hollywood. He's not like Tom Cruise who has the paparazzi following his social life like hawks and yet when it comes to his movies you can't help but feel that he isn't that great of an actor. Brad Pitt is an astounding actor. He was great in Burn After Reading. He is even better in this film. This performance is definitely Oscar worthy. Problem is he probably won't get it and that is purely because there is much hype surrounding Sean Penn in Milk and Mickey Rourke in the Wrestler. But Pitt is spectacular because he genuinely does make you feel like Benjamin Button is aging backwards. I'm also going to say that Cate Blanchett is amazing as well, even if I thought that she was a complete bitch for a good deal of the movie (trust me she treats Benjamin Button like complete shit at one point and you just want to hit her). She to puts on an amazing performance as someone who has to deal with the love of their life getting younger whilst she gets older.
I would also like to say that Brad Pitt and David Fincher have yet to make a bad movie together. If there is any team up in Hollywood which you should never miss are David Fincher + Brad Pitt and Darren Aronofsky + Clint Mansell. I wouldn't miss these two doing a film together. Ever. Really these two in a film together just spells success. I mean they've done Fight Club and Se7en together, both of which are amazing.
Finally I will say that this movie is genuinely touching. During the last reels of the film I was crying and honestly it was for no good reason. There were multiple times that I teared up but it was those last few moments purely because it goes through every single character that you become attached to over the course of the three hours. I will say that Taraji P. Henson as Benjamin Button's mother is an astounding performance and I sincerely feel that she should win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (because I don't feel that this film will win any other acting Oscars).
I loved Benjamin Button and it currently sits as my favourite film of 2008. It has a distinct message about death that is incredibly touching. It is also a beautiful film with astounding performances. Whilst some people may be "sickened" by the actual content (the fact that Benjamin knows Daisy since she was seven made one reviewer I've seen feel that the movie was wrong). I will say that Benjamin Button is easily one of the best movies that I have ever seen. If you don't like long movies this might not be for you but if you want to see a gorgeous movie with amazing performances and one of the most touching movies ever then go and see this movie when it comes out in February in the UK (yes I've seen the movie 2 months early). 10/10
Also some astute people out there might notice many similarities between this film and Forest Gump, the reason being they were written by the same person, and since Forest Gump is a great movie I don't see any problem with there being a few similarities.
Finally, I aim to review No Country for Old Men, Hancock and Yes Man over the next two days so look out for that.