The key things you need to know about Benjamin Button? Two hours and 46 minutes.
This film is very long. That is as in loooooong.
It is based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Old FSF knew his onions when it came to stories and the pertinent word was short. Why mess with that?
That is not to say I didn’t like TCCoBB. I did. It is just that I would have liked it a lot more if it ran an hour less.
Put it this way – and I don’t think there is a need for a spoiler alert because it is well-known to be the story of a man who is born old and ages backwards till he dies as a baby – by the end I found myself thinking ‘Oh for fek’s sake, hurry up and die’. That was probably not the reaction the director was looking for.
The acting? Well Cate Blanchett was excellent, as ever. Brad Pitt? Well it’s hard to tell to be honest. When Brad was the old Benjamin all the acting was done by make-up and CGI, when he was younger all he did was look good and not say very much. Probably a wise choice.
This is the story of the absurdity of life, death and ageing. The point is that being born old and getting younger is no more absurd than the other way around for all that we accept that as the norm. The final image of the New Orleans flood flowing past the clock that had been set to go backwards is more than a tad heavy-handed. If you hadn’t got the time and tide message by that point then it had all been wasted.
The whole film was about time. Long before it got to 166 minutes, I felt it was about time it was over.