Written by Films

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I saw a preview of this at the weekend, although it was a close run thing. When I turned up at the cinema at 10.30am on Sunday morning along with a hundred and fifty or so other people, my local multiplex seemed to know nothing about it.
Cue lots of delays and uncertainty about whether we would see this film, another, or any. But they managed to get it sorted out, and so we saw one of the award season’s most nominated films.
But I’ve got to ask why it’s so nominated. It’s certainly a decent film, and it’s very unusual. But award winning? I’m not so sure.
It’s about Brad Pitt’s character, the aforementioned Benjamin Button, who is born as an old man and as he gets older, his body gets younger. In other words, the plot’s utterly bizarre. But you fairly quickly forget about that and get into the interesting ideas the film presents, as he falls for a family friend who’s the same age as him in years, if not in body. That means that there’s a sort of “sweet spot” somewhere in the middle of the film. But it’d be a shame to spoil the story any more.
I’ve no idea to what extent this film really is based on an F Scott Fitzgerald story, but it’s interesting if a tad long – it’s getting on for three hours.
Cate Blanchett plays Daisy, the aforementioned friend, and a fine job she does too. While Pitt’s is pretty decent. But I’m just not sure that these are the best performances that I’ve seen in the last twelve months. They’re assured, certainly, but I’m really not sure that’s enough.
The most interesting part of the film is that set in Russia as Button meets Tilda Swinton’s somewhat more interesting bored diplomat’s wife. The relationship the two have is much deeper than anything else in the film, but in reality it’s just a sideshow to the main story.
To be honest, this film has been better made by the French. It has the feel of either Amelie or A Very Long Engagement – the playfulness it sometimes employs.
None of this should put anyone off seeing the film, but it’s just not as strong as some of the others.
Oh yes, and it’s nice to Julia Ormond on the big screen again? Where’s she been for these last few years?