Friday, 8 July 2011

The Adjustment Bureau (2011) Movie Review


Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? A man glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York the only woman he's ever loved. On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) - a woman like none he's ever known. But just as he realizes he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself - the men of The Adjustment Bureau - who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path...or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.


A well made and more thoughtful film that you might be expecting

What if your own free will was nothing of the sort. Every move you made was in accordance with a master plan, any kinks or imperfections "adjusted" by persons unknown, constantly on hand to ensure you stayed on track.

Many people might assume that their lives are quite the reverse, with all the bad decisions they have made, anything resembling a master plan is unlikely.

David Norris (Matt Damon) is a rising New York Congressman with his heart set on becoming a young Senator, everything is going according to plan until he meets the beautiful quirky ballerina, Elise (Emily Blunt) in a mens restroom.

Elise inspires him in ways that he could not have imagined but any longer term relationship is not part of the plan the "Men in Grey" have mapped out. They do not like their careful plans messed with, ever. Although they do get to wear Trilby's, which not only look cool but are also a necessary tool for their profession.

The many scenes between Blunt and Damon are very believable and natural, real chemistry in action and is fun to watch. Blunt is a breath of fresh air in the congressman's driven life, living more in the moment than he possibly ever did before.

Just when you think the film will descend into a smorgasbord of special effects, the story goes into the opposite direction. A thoughtful and character driven piece about choices and the ripple effect each path taken, or not taken, has on your own and other peoples lives.

Terence Stamp, still with one of the best voices in the business, together with Anthony Mackie & John Slattery, do good work as the agents attempting to get everything back on track.

There are some good lines and Damon can play an aspiring politician with ease, no doubt he could be one in real life if he chose to move in that direction.

The central question of defining who we are by the choices we make is explored and it is good to see another movie messing with our heads, if only just a little. If we have no free will are we still the people we thought we were, very deep but don't panic, the film does not get too caught up in this existentialism.

The action is limited, there are no cars exploding and the body count is non existent, a refreshing change from most modern films. A film that could have been made in the 50's from a story point of view, although actually based on a short story by Phillip K Dick of "Do Androids dream of electric sheep" fame, the inspiration for "Blade Runner".

Production values are good, although not of the highest flight. The costumes worn by the adjustment police are rather dodgy and look like guys with spare motorcycle helmets sprayed black. Not what you would expect in a big budget Hollywood movie, a small point but quite noticeable.

Similar to many films of this genre, the movie has to decide how to wrap everything up neatly. The final reel is perhaps a little disappointing but that depends on how you would want the film to end, somehow it feels that the easier option was taken.


A well made and more thoughtful film than you might be expecting.

Well acted with a believable romance, a light dusting of Sci-Fi and a great story. "Inception" lite perhaps, which is certainly recommendation enough for any film.


George Nolfi


George Nolfi (screenplay), Philip K. Dick (short story "Adjustment Team")


Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Damon Matt Damon ...
Emily Blunt Emily Blunt ...
Florence Kastriner Florence Kastriner ...
Phyllis MacBryde Phyllis MacBryde ...
Suburban Neighbor
Natalie Carter Natalie Carter ...
Suburban Neighbor (as Natalie E. Carter)
Chuck Scarborough Chuck Scarborough ...
Jon Stewart Jon Stewart ...
Gregory P. Hitchen Gregory P. Hitchen ...
U.S. Coast Guard Officer (as Capt. Gregory P. Hitchen)
Darrell Lenormand Darrell Lenormand ...
Upstate Farmer
Kar Kar ...
Michael Kelly Michael Kelly ...
RJ Konner RJ Konner ...
Susan D. Michaels Susan D. Michaels ...
Anthony Mackie Anthony Mackie ...
Gregory Lay Gregory Lay ...
Albert, Campaign Aide

No comments:

Post a Comment