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THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (2008)
The magic of cinema defined, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button displays filmmaker David Fincher’s visionary excellence to maximum effect.
Based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerlad, adapted to the screen by Robin Swicord and Eric Roth – who has proven his taste for the majestic with his Oscar winning script for Forrest Gump - Brad Pitt stars as Benjamin Button, a man born is his eighties, who ages backwards.
Beginning in New Orleans, 1918, Benjamin is abandoned by his industrialist father (Jason Flemyng) on the steps of a retirement home, supervised by Queenie (Taraji P. Henson, in a dynamite performance), who raises Benjamin as her own.
Surrounded by his curiously similar looking, yet fragile house mates, Benjamin takes on the pearls of wisdom which they dispense with him during his years as a “young man” as a tug boat sailor, under the command of hard drinking Captain Mike (Jared Harris, son of the great Richard Harris).
A subsequent affair in Russia with an English aristocrat (Tilda Swinton) follows, before Benjamin returns home and starts a fruitful relationship with his “childhood” sweetheart, Daisy, played by a simply radiant Cate Blanchett, who embodies grace and oozes sex appeal.
The films technical prowess is its strength. The mammoth task of editing this 157 min feature has been masterfully met by Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall; long time Martin Scorsese collaborator, Claudio Miranda, provides breath taking photography; and the amazing special effects brilliantly age the films actors, especially Pitt who is unrecognisable in his shrivelled, ultra-elderly period.
Pitt’s performance in an astonishing display of subtlety. He is an actor who is able to inhabit his characters with soul and humour, with the former easily found, considering his characters situation. He has always been a consistently brilliantly, yet frustratingly underrated actor.
Hopefully, his turn as a man whose life is dictated by the ticking of a clock, running backwards, will stamp his standing as an extremely talented thespian.