This Movie Guy Headline Animator

Thursday, March 10, 2011



The Adjustment Bureau is a 2011 dramatic film directed by George Nolfi. It follows David Norris (Matt Damon), a junior congressman who's attempting to win one of the Senate seats in New York. After building a large lead in the polls, a publicity nightmare causes him to lose the election in a landslide. Distraught, he stumbles into a restroom to practice his concession speech, but he is caught by a woman (Emily Blunt) hiding inside. The two share an immediate connection and kiss just as Norris's campaign manager (Michael Kelly) walks in. The woman dashes off, and Norris is left to wonder if he'll ever see her again. He proceeds to stray from his scripted speech, instead choosing to berate the system that put him where he now stood. A month later, David happens upon the woman on a bus and learns her name is Elise. She gives him her phone number, and everything seems like it's all falling into place for David. When he gets off the bus and goes into work, however, he finds all of the staff frozen in place and being worked upon by a group of men in suits. After a short chase, David is captured and told by the leader of the men (John Slattery) that they are the people who make sure that things "go according to plan." They claim to work for someone called the "Chairman" who creates the plan for everyone in the world. They tell David that his plan does not allow him to be with Elise, but David cannot accept this. He spends the rest of the film fighting to win her love and keep both their "plans" on as good a course as is humanly possible.

Honestly, that's probably one of the worst plot summarizations I've ever given; however, I don't want to give too much of this story away before you have a chance to see it. The plot is actually rather intricate, and it would take me an entire blog post to go into all the detail surrounding everything that's going on. Because I don't want to spend that much time, I'll leave it to you to actually see the movie, which hopefully by the end of this post, I'll have given you enough reason to do so.

Like I said, the plot is rather intricate, but it never gets too over-the-top that it becomes confusing. You immediately get sucked into the story, and that's a huge plus considering that's it's a little off-the-wall. You have to pay attention to everything that's happening, for two reasons: first, if you miss part of the plot, you may have questions later in the story, and second, there's never really a dull moment in the film. This is also a huge plus in terms of making The Adjustment Bureau a successful venture. Yes, it should technically be classified as a drama, but you can easily call it a sci-fi thriller as well (in fact, IMDb lists it as such).

We also get some great performances from the actors in the film. Although nobody's really going to blow you away, everyone plays their part very well, giving us a very strong ensemble cast. Damon and Blunt are very good as our leads (although you could probably call Blunt's character supporting); however, some of the more memorable performances come from our supporting cast. Anthony Mackie does a fine job as a member of the bureau who's questioning the ethics behind what they do. And the always-great Terrence Stamp makes himself known in his limited amount of screen-time. We even get a couple of brief glimpses of Daily Show anchor Jon Stewart (as himself, interviewing David Norris) that prove to be rather humorous. Fine acting all around really helps The Adjustment Bureau fly.

For most of the film, I was completely drawn into the story, and for that, the cast and crew should be commended. As you'll notice below the picture, however, I could only give the film one-and-a-half thumbs up. I did so because I wasn't entirely impressed with the ending. Well, I shouldn't say that because it works well with the rest of the story, but I suppose I was expecting a little bit more of an emotional punch. The ending they give us is a little bit hectic, and the final payoff seemed a little too neat and gift-wrapped. However, I could very well be the only person who thinks this way - my friend Dréa happened to love the ending (and the whole movie, for that matter), so there's a good chance I'm in the minority with my opinion. Despite that, The Adjustment Bureau is still a very good film that's worth a watch, especially this early in 2011. It easily jumped to the number two spot for this year's films, only falling (well) behind Rango. Will that hold up? Probably not, but you should still give this one a gander if you have the chance.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: B+
1.5 Thumbs Up

1 comment:

  1. These american flims always seem so close minded and its especially glaring when the audience is asian. Gave freewill and got dark ages? The european dark ages was 500 to 900 AD. Guess what, it was the Tang Dyansty in China and the Classical Age in India. Both were considered great heights of culture. Really facepalming stuff.