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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Sum up this film in two words: Classic Hollywood.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button leads the Oscar race with thirteen (13) nominations, and it truly is a cinematic work of art.

The screenplay was adapted (as everyone would probably know by now) from a short story of the same title by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Though the storytelling is quite clear, there are times when we sense the writers' hesitations on whether to focus on the life of Benjamin Button, or on the love story between him and Daisy. They could have focused on the love story all the way; all the incidental events would have been covered anyway.

There are others, however, who keep insisting about the obvious parallelisms between Benjamin Button and Forrest Gump. Now, while I would not deny that there are parallelisms, these parallelisms are not obvious, as some of you would state. Although both films are indeed penned by Eric Roth, Benjamin Button was co-written with Rob Swicord (and both Roth and Swicord are nominated for their adaptation). To state that Benjamin Button is a copy of Forrest Gump would be to belittle Eric Roth's talent, as well as underestimate Rob Swicord's input. Besides, the similarities never manifested itself as I watched the film, even though I knew beforehand of the Button vs Gump debate (sounds like a US Supreme Court case).

And that is because David Fincher did a marvelous directing job. Fincher treats this like a Hollywood classic, with brilliantly-designed sets as far as period films are concerned. Fincher also utilized the beautiful cinematography of Claudio Miranda, who did a great job of photographing the American South in all its splendor. My only problem was his consistency in treatment, with the flashbacks and the scratched film inserts not really providing much in the overall look.

Now in the acting department, what can you say with Cate Blanchett in front of the camera? Nothing. Just soak in Cate Blanchett's beauty. While the others can also soak in Brad Pitt's gorgeous mug, his performance is also noteworthy (as it is also nominated for an Academy Award). Most viewers would already know before watching that this is a story about a man who ages backwards physically, and the question on most people's minds is what about his wisdom? Does it age forwards or backwards? And the answer to that is in Brad Pitt's performance.

All in all, I would say that this may be the strongest contender for Best Picture, not because I really loved the film, but because this film conforms to the classical Hollywood template, which the Academy is a sucker for. Now unless the Academy's new composition has more radicals than conservatives, this film will most likely take home the Best Picture award, as the other epic dramas set in the South have done before it.

Rating: Nine out of ten stars.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director for David Fincher, Best Actor for Brad Pitt, Best Supporting Actress for Taraji P. Henson, Best Adapted Screenplay for Eric Roth and Rob Swicord, Best Original Score for Alexandre Desplat, Best Editing for Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, Best Cinematography for Claudio Miranda, Best Costume Design for Jacqueline West, Best Sound Mixing for David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, and Mark Weingarten, Best Makeup for Greg Cannom, Best Art Direction for Donald Graham Burt and Victor J. Zolfo, and Best Visual Effects for Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, and Craig Barron (whew!)


Unknown said...

i thought of you.....


christian bale is no longer my man-crush. :-(

tina said...

haha! na-turn off ka ba? ^^

i have forgiven mr. bale. :-)


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