Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Buttons and McGuffins

John Holbo at Crooked Timber is discussing "The Curious Case of Bejamin Button", and fun things such as Metaphysical McGuffins and allegory get a good ol' grilling. I make a comment too (I've not seen the film, but read the Firtzgerald short story).


Philip said...

Stick with the story, is my advice. The film is a horrendous exercise in sub-Spielbergian sentiment, crippled by voiceover, bloated with saccharine and only comes to life when Tilda Swinton is around. The finale could have been poignant, but the voiceover does for that. Further proof, after the eminently forgettable Panic Room, that David Fincher would do well to stick with serial killers.

Buck Theorem said...

"...that David Fincher would do well to stick with serial killers."

Indeed, Philip! I am currently going through "Seven" again and seeing that it is does hold up as a mainstream extreme cinematic confection. "Zodiac" is on another level.

I have not really been impressed or bothered much with his other films, although I have heard nothing good about "Benjamin Button" and isn't "The Social Network" meant to be great? (- maybe because "The Social Network" is also centred around sociopaths, except of the business and boardroom kind?)

I cannot claim to have been impressed by the original Fitzgerald short story of "Benjamin Button", because a tale cannot survive and flourish on novelty alone.

Philip said...

The Social Network is a fairly amusing geek comedy, I think. Zodiac is excellent.

I'm very fond of Seven (except for the damn silly voiceover at the end), and I even have a sneaking affection for Alien 3, at least in the extended version. Not that it's any kind of undiscovered masterpiece, but the atmosphere is appealingly bleak and there are very few mainstream films with the chutzpa to kill off a major child character during the opening titles.

For the rest, I think The Game is a 25-minute Twilight Zone episode blown up to two hours, and Fight Club amusingly manic but wildly overblown and fatally soft-centred (the only person to die in all the mayhem is the comical fat guy, ho hum). I was pleasantly surprised by the Dragon Tattoo remake, though I still prefer Noomi Rapace's flinty Salander to Rooney Mara's ninja waif; and I wish someone had pointed out that Swedes talking to other Swedes don't hear føny åccents, they just hear talk.