Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. A life Lived in Rewind

Mr. Buttons case or rather life is indeed curious. Infact, exceptional. And quite other-worldly. It is a life lived in rewind from the grave to the womb. Its as if a dying grand parent is visualizing their own life as they hold their new born grandchild and see what lies in store for the new life

The movie is century-spanning epic. It flows melodiously, smoothly, lyrically and magically. And also at times you cant help but feel deja vu - some scenes, characters, situations and even the southern accent remind you of the GUMP - Forest Gump. Well the two movies share the same screenwriter, Eric Roth.

There are some beautiful scenes and its difficult to not notice the actors - Pitt, of course. Then Ms. Blanchett - stunning, slender, almost waif like in her ballet movements and a fierceness to live life youthfully. The tug boat captain on th tug boat Chelsea with all his tattoos. Tilda Swinton as the English channel swimmer (as below) and caviar freak.

See full image gallery

Brad pitt is absolutely awesome as he ages backwards, specially as a octogenarian young man who first walks when 7 yrs old, learns the things grown ups do, surprises the women with his unusual vigor (they mistake him to be "grandpa" because of his very old looks). And then when he has reversed aged enough to be his mid age person, the scene of him riding a bike, sailing into the wide ocean, left many of his female admirers gasping in the audience. When you see those shots you know why he is so so so famous.

The movie has moments and scenes of brilliance too. One of the best scenes in the movie is when people, unrelated, unknown to each other, are orchestrated by the conspirators of time and its machinations to be "just off the clock", leading into the collision course that leaves Ms. Blanchett's character forever altered. This sequence is brilliantly shot, narrated and depicted.

Then there is lyrical southern accent of Pitt's mama. There are the almost magical, fantastical and esoteric scenes of the tug boat sailing into the wide open sea.
The nights in the russian hotel when Mr. Pitt learns about love and romance (over caviar and vodka) from the older wife of british govt officer. And the movie has its hilarious "Did i tell you i was struck by lightning 7 times" moments.

Benjamin Button is definitely a must see.

Before i end and since i am on a pre-oscar binge these days, my oscar predictions are that the the movie will be a strong contender and will probably get the following nominations.
1. Best Picture of the year
2. Best Director
3. Best Actor
4. Best Actress
5. Best Supporting actress
6. Best Makeup/Effects
7. Best original soundtrack

I think it will probably win 4. Cate Blanchett can oscar-roll herself with ease now. It will definitely win number 6 (the computer effects used here are just mindblowing. The scenes of the old brad pitt are just unbelievably real).

And even though i would pick Gran Torino as the Best Picture of the Year, Button will probably win. But Clint Eastwood beats Fincher for the best director and Frank langella would trump Pitt for the best Actor. Pitt does a great job and has played an epic role (ala legends of the fall ) but frank langella's high intensity and high energy portrayal of Nixon wins my vote


De Veras said...

I agree with you that Benjamin Buttons is a must see movie for its cinematography , its original score and electrifying chemistry between Pitt and Blanchett. The supporting cast was also superb and the subject matter intriguing.
The one thing that I thought cheapened the movie ever so slightly was the "cheesy" humming bird. I thought it was cute but not necessary. Really I don't know why the hummingbird bothered me so, maybe the whole "fantasy meets reality" of watching a man age backwards was enough magic for one movie, the hummingbird was just over the top.

The most powerful scenes in the movie for me were:
1. Pitt and Blanchett as children at night, hiding and talking by candle light. Though Pitt is only 7 years old at this point he looks ancient, especially in contrast with Blanchett who appears very young. Throughout their conversation, Blanchett's voice oscillates between a child's voice and that of an adult. The visual image of an old man and a very young girl relating as equals is a mind twister. The voice switch on Blanchett makes it even more odd. My own awkward feeling during this scene was directly related to my mind being challenged with the conflict of what appeared to be true at face value old man and young girl), and what was really going on (two soul's genuinely connecting despite outward appearances and beyond the limitations of time and space).
2. Pitt's character helping his ailing father to sit on the dock and enjoy the sunrise just a short time before his death. The emotional power of the scene underlines the themes of compassion and the need to embrace the beauty in the fragile short lives that we live without even saying a word.
3. The narration/orchestration of the "crash" scene where Blanchett is hit in Paris. This well thought out ad seemlessly filmed sequence of events highlights the role that destiny plays throughout all of our lives in a few short yet powerful scenes.

I agree with all of your Oscar nomination predictions in regards to this film. Blanchett certainly deserves the oscar for Best Actress. Button's mother should be a major contender for Best Supporting Actress. I also would like to see this movie win Best effects/make-up for the dramatic real-life aging of both Blanchett and Pitt's characters.

Global Wanderer said...

great comment!
yeah hoping to see some wins for the best actress, supporting actress and special effects for Benjamin Button !