The fantasy element in F. Scott Fitgerald's 1922 short story, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," in which a man ages backwards, does not begin to suggest the urgent drama and romantic fatalism that director David Fincher and writers Eric Roth and Robin Swicord have so strikingly brought to the screen in the movie version. Fitzgerald's story is little more than a plot gimmick. Yet the film transforms this gimmick into an epic tale that contemplates the wonders of life -- of birth and death and, most of all, love.
The simple story line centers on the ill-fated plan by comely television reporter Angela (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman (Steve Harris) to cover the night shift at a local firehouse. After an obligatory slow-build depicting Angela's playful interactions with the flirtatious firefighters, the film kicks into higher gear when a distress call sends the men to a small apartment building, with the journalists tagging along.