Friday, February 27, 2009
The San Jose HowlerCafe shopping trip ended in a mall, of all places. The theater in the mall showed movies that are either dubbed or subtitled, as Costa Rica is a Spanish speaking country. They don't bother asking the audience to turn off their cellphones, which the stadium seating allowed me clear view of bright phone screens, as opposed to the film, which was film, not digital, but it sure was terrific to see a movie on the big screen again!
I am in a foreign country with my <6 month wife, missing her terribly and not due home for another miserable(where miserable = not sleeping with aforementioned spouse) night.
"Benjamin Button" is about the big thing(s), with concentrations in "living in the moment", family, love, old age and love. Yep, love is all over this film.
I left home at 3am with an unfinished collapse of understanding between the spouse and I weighing heavy on my heart. We will not be able to resolve the misunderstanding when I get back -- temporary madness and all -- but that is another matter. The tough part of dramas like "Button" is that they always seem to be about the trouble(s) in ones own life. Things happening in the film ring with truth because you just lived it, particularly when the writing and the acting are up to the task.
Fincher and his crew are, and are playing for keeps. This movie, without overt flash, pulls out all the stops, and only shows off a little. Great whale and squid ww2 scene in the midst of button, arcs of tracers illuminating even as it rips apart the target. There is of course the CGI conceit of the premise and the sepiatoned bits, but these diminish over the course of Benjamin's long life.
"Benjamin Button" is the movie "the Notebook" wanted to be, with more sex and alcohol. The movie is long, thoughtful, and willing to show us what we need to stay engaged. I was at the end of a day that started at 3am and found myself enthralled over the entire 3 hours of this epic. Many of the reviews I have read after watching the film seem to find it too "Gump" or too trite, for me it banged on all cylinders, in a way Gump did not.
Living in the moment may be a lesson we all have heard, but few live it, regardless. Nothing wrong with a reminder once in awhile. The response here in Costa Rica to the question "how are you?" is "Pura Vida!". I hope some of those peeps on the phone caught that message before they filed out of the theater.
"Benjamin Button" is a 3 hour tour de force of skewed time and gets it right.