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David Fincher's THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON Has Screened, And We've Got A Review!

Beaks here... If anyone can break the big-screen F. Scott Fitzgerald curse, it's David Fincher. But did he really need three full hours to exorcise the Hollywood demons of THE GREAT GATSBY, THE LAST TYCOON, TENDER IS THE NIGHT, THE LAST TIME I SAW PARIS (and the author's alcohol-hastened demise at the age of forty-four)? This is the only review we've received from last week's screening. It's mostly positive, but it does find fault with Fincher's storytelling (third act "repetition" was a significant problem for this reader). Since I know there have been... discussions at Paramount over the length of BENJAMIN BUTTON, I'd really like to get a few more opinions on this cut of the movie - especially since some critics complained of the "repetition" in the third acts of FIGHT CLUB and ZODIAC. So please send along a review if you were lucky enough to check this out (four months prior to release, you bastage!). Here's one reader's take...
I scored a few tickets for an “UNTITLED” screening at Paramount Studios while standing in line at the Tropic Thunder screening, which is beyond hilarious. After a long wait in the burning sun, we were taken inside Paramount Studios and seated in one of the nicest screening rooms I’ve ever seen. Whatever the film was—I was just excited to watch something on their screen. But I was not disappointed when we found out it was David Fincher’s upcoming film, THE CURIIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON. This will be spoiler free. The film tells the story of Benjamin Barker (Brad Pitt) who is born an old man and ages backwards. In the midst of his awkward and unexplainable body changes, he falls in love with a fellow small-town girl by the name of Daisy (Cate Blanchett). The film tells the story of Benjamin’s entire life, however, it mainly focuses on him and Daisy, who are slowly but surely aging in opposite directions. Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story of the same name. First off, this does not feel at all like a David Fincher film. I think die-hard Fincher fans are going to be quite surprised. At its core, it’s a very romantic film. He has certainly stepped out of his box and certainly out of his usual realm of creativity. There were many moments in the film that felt almost Tim Burton-eqsue. The film starts out amazingly. The story itself won’t have any trouble reeling people in because Fincher is a great storyteller and the source material is top notch. However, I felt this film suffers from the same mistake Zodiac suffered from: things fell apart toward the end. The film is somewhere near three hours. By an hour and a half/forty five, the audience was getting restless. I could hear them squirming in their seats in front and behind me. The last hour is ultimately weighed down by a lot of repetition that has to do with the romance between Pitt and Blanchett. The film is truly great up until the final hour where things begin to feel muddled and unnecessary. I know that seems like a lot of negative feedback. However, trust me, there is a great deal of excellence in the film. Claudio Miranda’s cinematography paired with Alexandre Desplat’s beautiful score makes for some truly magical moments. In fact, most of the film is filled with these kinds of moments. It works more than it doesn’t work; it’s just the final hour that needs to be tightened up, as well as some rough patches toward the middle. As far as performances go, Pitt and Blanchett are very good, but there are some definite dry moments. The special effects and make-up in this film are truly amazing. Brad Pitt’s descent into youth is never once unbelievable; it looks tremendously authentic. The same goes for Blanchett’s aging process. The announcer said the film’s effects weren’t quite finished yet, which is even more impressive. With all that said, the film is still in the very early stages of it’s life considering it won’t be released until Christmas. Fincher and his team have a lot of time to polish it up. I’m sure these test screenings will reveal the film’s obvious missteps, because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who felt this way. Beneath it’s sprawling three hours, a beautiful film exists. I have faith that Fincher will find it.

Read Fitzgerald's short story here

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