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Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Exquisitely-crafted, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a must-snatch for the discerning viewer. Others may dismiss it as a schmaltzy, over-ambitious folly, writes Rashid Irani.

movie reviews Updated: Feb 28, 2009 10:58 IST
Rashid Irani

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Cast: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett
Direction: David Fincher
Rating: ****

Without a doubt, the seventh film by David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac) consolidates his reputation as a cutting edge director. Adapted from a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the somewhat gimmicky plot also borrows elements from Forrest Gump (by the same scriptwriter, Eric Roth), A Beautiful Mind and Big Fish.

Cut to an octogenarian ballerina (Blanchett) who is dying in a New Orleans hospital. Follow flashbacks of her relationship with the eponymous hero (Pitt).

Born as an old man, he becomes noticeably younger every year before regressing to infancy. Fincher rises up to the reverse-ageing challenge, utilising innovative computer graphics technology to impose Brad Pitt’s face on other actors’ bodies. It’s a stunning achievement which deservedly snagged the Best Visual Effects Oscar.

The ballerina and the man-child are roughly the same age when they become lovers. Inevitably, their idyll is short-lived and marked by a heart-tugging resonance.

The film is packed with superb sequences such as the hotel rendezvous with a diplomat’s wife (Tilda Swinton) or the cross-cutting between several chance events that lead to a nerve jolting accident in Paris. For comic relief, there are silent film-style inserts of a man struck by lightning on several occasions

Cast against type, Brad Pitt, who teams with director Fincher for the third time, erases his pretty boy charm for most part of the film’s 165 minute-length.

Exquisitely-crafted, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a must-snatch for the discerning viewer. Others may dismiss it as a schmaltzy, over-ambitious folly.

The choice is yours.