Much like a certain other nigh-on-three-hour epic released recently David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin is a great flawed film. It is indeed the sprawling film that it had been made out to be and I thought it was really great - some parts more than others - but as a whole it has issues. I felt some of the characterisations were poor. Taraji P Henson, so praised by many people, I felt was actually one of the weakest assett's to the movie. She was charming and funny, but take her out of the movie and there isn't much of a hole that needs filling. Her character of "Queenie" doesn't feel like she lives outside of the movie, unlike some of the other supporting characters played by the likes of Tilda Swinton and Mahershalalhashbaz Ali.
Brad Pitt is better here than I have found him to be recently and Cate Blanchett is luminescent throughout many of her scenes. Technically the film is a beautiful with Claudio Miranda's sublime cinematography, Alexandre Desplat's dreamy score and the astonishing visual effects work all helping pull the film together in moments of weakness and strength. The art direction and Jacqueline West's costume design, I think, are the film's biggest assets outside of the special effects, effectively recreating many different time periods and making it appear effortless. You can barely tell you're moving through the decades of time.
I think my major issue with the film, however, lies with Eric Roth's screenplay. By making the opening hour of the movie so curious (pun intended) with itself it sets the film's second half up - it is three hours long, remember - to be rushed. And while the final two hours glided by with ease, I would have actually preferred a bit less time spent on the early time of Benjamin's life and more as he navigates through the difficult younger years.
I did, however, cry and I will freely admit that. It's the first 2008 film in which I have actually shed tears. It certainly helps that I currently have a close family member going through a tough battle of dementia that made the final moments so hard to watch, but even earlier than these moments I found the film actually worked for my tears instead of merely expecting them.
I haven't mentioned the director David Fincher, which I find strange myself considering it feels so much like a director's film and yet... and yet... I don't know. What's there that is ostensibly Fincher? I'm not entirely sure. One thing I am very sure of is that Tilda Swinton has officially moved up into the echelon of my favourite actresses. I thought Swinton's Elizabeth Abbott was the film's highlight. The way she recites her dialogue and the way her face moves is utterly captivating in every possible way and through her brief scenes made the strongest impression out of everybody. B+ although it may go down to a B, depending on how it holds up in my mind.
Okay, maybe not so brief. What did you think if your country has been deemed worthy enough of seeing it?