13 January 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Words I'd use to describe this movie: cloying, long, lifeless, pointless, and disappointing. I didn't necessarily head into this film with high expectations but most everyone who watched it said they liked it, just "not as much as Forrest Gump." I could do with a B-rate Forrest Gump. Instead what I got was a three hour meandering mess that sort of had the worst parts of Titanic, Forrest Gump, and (as Irene pointed out) The Notebook all mashed together. At the end of it I was hoping I'd be the one struck by lightning seven times.

I can't believe David Fincher (Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac) directed this. Aside from the tone and content, I just can't believe that he would have let this thing drag on so long -- he's usually tight with his running times. I love the idea of a character aging in reverse and the story had so much potential but it was all unrealized. I got quickly bored with the tired tropes, wished old Daisy would just hurry up and die, yawned at the pathetic attempts at greater symbolism, and got annoyed that there was no emotional pay offs. It also seemed like there were parts when Fincher forgot he was supposed to inject some universal life proclamations and so stuck them in with a quick voice over. Way to summarize buddy, try cutting the movie next time.

The whole thing made me appreciate Forrest Gump so much more as it was done with a hundred times the humor, charm, and originality of Benji Button. I used to love the word "button" but now it's been seriously tainted. For the record, I don't think Cate Blanchett is a great actress, not at all. Don't see it. Not here, not there, not anywhere.