Posted on Thursday, November 13th, 2008 by Steve Mason
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The first reviews of David Fincher‘s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button have begun to hit the Internet. It’s hard to make an assessment at this time as one concludes with a good by disappointed/mixed reaction (which seems close to my reaction having seen 20 minutes of the film), while the other is extremely well written but fanboy-ish in its gushing praise. You can also watch the new Benjamin Button television advertisement above.
Obsessions of a Pop Culture Nerd: Pitt “gives a nice, subtle performance full of wonder and longing.” … “I wasn’t as moved by this film as I wanted to be. This was number one on my list of must-see holiday movies and I so wanted to be blown away but it just didn’t happen. This movie is a very ambitious effort—it looks gorgeous, there are some groundbreaking special effects and the rest of the cast also do excellent work but it’s the kind of movie you respect more than love. It’s like a piece of art that you look at and say, ‘It’s pretty,’ but don’t necessarily want to bring home. I think the problem for me was the stakes weren’t high enough for Benjamin and there was no sense of urgency throughout most of his life.” … “I’m surprised there aren’t more riveting moments in this movie, considering it’s directed by Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en). I was attracted to it after hearing that Fincher would take the unsentimental route. Well, it’s unsentimental almost to the point of passivity. This isn’t to say it’s boring—it isn’t. Many times, it’s even laugh-out-loud funny. There are visually interesting aspects—the film looks like old stock at times, where you can see the pops and scratches like on an old newsreel. The color is sometimes muted, sometimes overly saturated, like the unnatural tones of a black and white movie that’s been colorized.”
Variety’s Anne Thompson published a gushing spy report: “It’s magic realism propelled by extraordinary filmmaking technology but it’s not remotely what I’d call cold. It creates a world of oddities and wonderful, off-kilter characters but the whole piece is anchored by a decades long relationship that gets strained, frayed, breaks and rebuilds into something profound and moving. The achievement is big and bold and ambitious and life-affirming, but the sentimentality is always toughened by the continual sense of loss and deep sadness at the transitory nature of the human condition. If it sounds like an art movie, it absolutely is, but it’s a four quadrant art film!” … “Can’t wait to see what the Fincher freaks make of it. For the record, I am not one of them.”