Viewed – 18 Feb 2009 Cinema
In this season of movie award shows, two films are generating the most buzz, this and Slumdog Millionaire. Now I’ve yet to see Danny Boyle’s much acclaimed drama, but have managed to sit down and watch this, the latest effort from one of my favourite directors – David Fincher.
Telling the admittedly curious tale of a baby born elderly who gradually grows younger as his life progresses, this heart-felt but never schmaltzy story follows young Benjamin as he grows up in a retirement home, gets a job on a tug boat, almost witnesses the invasion at Pearl Harbour, gets laid, falls in love and over the course of his life, never changes from the humble, good natured innocent he was when his father abandoned him all those years before.
Baring an obvious but less showy similarity to Forrest Gump, with American history surrounding and effecting Benjamin, which is no surprise as its penned by the same writer, this is one of those films that pulls you into a fascinating journey, with a very unique premise and some fabulously thought provoking moments – this makes you think about your own mortality and the fragility of life, but is also light enough to never be anything less than entertaining. With Brad Pitt in the lead we get a star name every bit up to such an unusual role, which although never astounding, can’t fail to charm you. Add to this Cate Blanchett strikingly beautiful and sophisticated as Benjamin’s life-long sweetheart, and Fincher’s meticulous, assured direction – and this is intelligent, mature film making from one of the best in the business, with a story to warm the heart and break it at the same time.
I must say its slow pace may alienate some, and I felt at times it could have done with some set-pieces on a par with Gump, while the acting although of a good quality never really stands out when faced with such amazing ageing / rejuvinating effects. The ending also feels tied up a little too neatly. Saying that – this is still one you need to check out.
Verdict: 4 /5