The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A beautiful film. Just brilliant. Fincher has a way with narrative, from the way he sets up the film’s themes with the clockmaker vignette, to the craft shown with the Paris taxi scene, to the superb timing of the “Did I ever tell you that I’ve been struck by lightning seven times?” clips. I’ll reserve judgment until I see Milk and The Wrestler, but for the time being this is my favorite film of the year.

That said, the most touching – and tragic – aspect of the movie was its setting. Inasmuch as it’s about anything, Button is about New Orleans. It’s about race in New Orleans, it’s about New Orleans sea culture, it’s about New Orleans as the only place on earth where someone like Benjamin could exist and make sense. So it was wrenching that Fincher chose to tell the story through flashbacks, flashbacks from a hospital bed as Katrina is about to make landfall.

2 thoughts on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  1. I’m not sure that I agree with this last part. It seemed to me that the use of Katrina in Button was more of a convenient plot element than a legitimate execution in the context of New Orleans. This may all amount to a “too soon” argument, but I thought the use of Katrina was insufficient to the gravity of the actual situation. Its a passing curiosity in the movie, an “oh, I remember that” connection to the contemporary audience. This would be OK, if there was any reflection on Katrina, but there isn’t. The best comparison I can make is the use of ground zero imagery in 25th Hour (2002, Spike Lee) as a launching point for reflection and as a plot mechanism. This seemed to me a proper use of a tragedy of such magnitude.
    For a resident of NOLA, the use of Katrina is at best a trite wash of a human catastrophe.

  2. Cate Blanchett with a southern accent FTW; but Benjamin Button kept dragging on, always pausing dramatically on Brad Pitt’s face, a lot like Meet Joe Black, FTL

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