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Monday, January 12, 2009

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is a technical marvel. I’ll give star Brad Pitt and director David Fincher that.

Seeing Pitt’s face wrinkled and convincingly aged to 80 is impressive. Watching that face grimace and move on the body of a tiny person signals something that, technically, is nothing less than brilliant..

My curiosity, however, focuses on the screenplay, Eric Roth’s loosey-goosey revamping of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1922 short story. Both are tales of a rather simple man whose body clock ages in reverse.

Benjamin Button arrives near full grown and elderly in the short story. In the movie, he’s a little infant-size bundle in an elderly package.

I have no quibbles about how Roth, the veteran screenwriter of “Lucky You,” “Munich” and “The Insider,” distances his screenplay from Fitzgerald’s.

My problem is how much Roth rehashes his own Oscar-winning “Forrest Gump” screenplay structure. I admire anyone who can just sit back and let this otherwise grand adventure unfold.

Sadly, I can’t. “Benjamin Button” just needs a speech about how many ways shrimp can be prepared to be a cinematic twin to “Forrest Gump.” read more...

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