On a crisp Tuesday night I went to the Kaufman movie theater in Astoria to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a film directed by David Fincher, a favorite of mine (loved his work on Fight Club, Panic Room, Se7en, and my most recent favorite Zodiac).
Like many people I know, I feel that Brad Pitt can be hit or miss. His work in Fight Club seemed right on, although I'm a bigger fan of some of his smaller roles such as his work in 12 Monkeys, Snatch, and another favorite, True Romance (best cameo ever). Although, I must admit I also really liked him in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
There were certain aspects of Benjamin Button that interested me. I liked the idea that the very old looking young Benjamin had to play a toddler, while the very young looking Pitt, had to play a wise, worldly man. This made for some subtle acting that really worked for me.
The movie had to me, a Forrest Gump-like feel, where I experienced this larger than life story through the experiences and the retelling of Benjamin Button's story. Not the silly feel of Gump, but the sense that life is an incredible journey and you never know what comes next.
Kate Blanchet was terrific, as the love of his life, and looked graceful as a dancer - like she'd been doing it her entire life. The other performances were well and good. Fincher did a good job of capturing the essence of each decade that the characters moved through, very subtle details that expressed the change in time. I know Fincher has affection for the 70s due to his work on Zodiac, and later in this movie you feel that he's captured that time in a bottle.
I left the theater being moved, and with that I was pleased.
I did feel the editing could have been a bit tighter, some lingering bits added to the aging theme of the film, but I felt some bits could have been cut. I do feel directors feel they have much more leeway these days as movies well over two hours have become the norm. (I feel there is always plenty of room on the DVD release for added footage, cut scenes, and outtakes).
I'd give it a 7.5 out of 10. My personal favorite scene was the desperate attack of the German submarine by the tugboat crew. An awesome bit of WW II thrown in there - nice.