The Adjustment Bureau (2011) Poster

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8/10
An all around amazing film
chrismsawin3 March 2011
Considering all the garbage movie critics have to sit through in a year, it's pretty amazing when a film that's smarter than most hits theaters and makes a bit of an impact. Independent films are one thing, but major ones released by bigger studios are even a bigger deal when this occurs. I think that's one of the reasons Inception was so great. Creativity and intelligence are two things that are usually lacking from blockbusters. The Adjustment Bureau is a film that has a bit more to it than you're probably expecting. Based on "The Adjustment Group," a short story by Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report), The Adjustment Bureau has probably already caught your attention either because you're a fan of Dick's work and/or the movies that were adapted from it.

The film's charm is definitely in its explanation for things. The way the bureau works and how they function is a wonder in itself. You'll never look at a door or a man wearing a hat the same way again after viewing the film. Perhaps the most interesting is Thompson's explanation of how events in history like The Great Depression and The Holocaust came about. The story is very imaginative and different from the norm, which is always a fantastic change in pace when it comes to film. At the same time though, those who like having absolutely everything explained to them will probably be disappointed. The Adjustment Bureau explains enough to get the wheels in your brain turning and leaves some things open to your interpretation, which could hurt someone's overall opinion of the film depending on the viewer.

I've never been the biggest Matt Damon fan. My favorite memory involving him was the Team America parody that he wasn't even involved with, but I think of that "Matt Damon!" line every time I see him on screen. However, he did have strong showings in both Hereafter and True Grit from last year. He keeps the trend going here. David seems to be a guy who was once fueled by speaking in front of hundreds of people and politics, but has now replaced that void with Elyse. The chemistry he has with Elyse, despite feeling somewhat brief, is one of the driving factors of the film. Anthony Mackie winds up being the most memorable bureau agent mostly because he has an emotional tie to David, but John Slattery and Terence Stamp have some pretty noteworthy performances as well.

I have the impression that a lot of people will write this off as a Men In Black ripoff, but The Adjustment Bureau is a bit more clever than either Men In Black film. The films surely have their similarities, but The Adjustment Bureau deserves to be given a chance. I think it'll surprise a lot of viewers.

The Adjustment Bureau is easily the smartest live-action film to be released in the first few months of 2011. With a solid cast, a hefty helping of creativity, and just an absorbing experiencing overall, The Adjustment Bureau is bound to leave a lasting impression when it comes time to look back on the best films of the year. The film leaves you questioning how much of your life is really left to fate and chance. Films seem to leave an impression that lasts longer if it makes you think or strikes a cord or hits close to home in some capacity. This film does that and then some. It comes highly recommended even if you have your reservations about it.
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8/10
A well made and more thoughtful film that you might be expecting
julian-mumford9 March 2011
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.

Summary

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.

http://julesmoviereviews.blogspot.com/
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7/10
Intelligence mixed with big-budget Hollywood action to form the new science fiction romance genre
napierslogs6 March 2011
I'm starting to like this new genre of science fiction romance that "The Adjustment Bureau" falls into. Hollywood seems to have learned how to add a significant amount thought to their films, just with their usual dumbing-down procedures.

David (Matt Damon) has met Elise (Emily Blunt) and based on one spontaneous kiss and one flirtatious encounter, he's determined that she's the one he's supposed to be with. They have other plans. Oh yes, the indefinable, ambiguous pronoun "they". Just to keep a sense of the intrigue afloat, I'll define "they" as the men of "The Adjustment Bureau". What they want, we don't really know. But David wants the girl—a beautiful girl—but just a girl nonetheless.

For us, questions of free will, fate, soul mates, success and pre-defined destinies abound. All running around an intricate maze of New York architecture. Although intricate might not be the best word because there's nothing here for us to figure out; the film lays everything out well in advance, and over and over again in case you missed it. At least there's intelligence to the story but unfortunately no subtlety.

"The Adjustment Bureau" has pretty city-scapes and pretty people playing more profound characters than pretty people usually play. As with most genre-mixing films, there is something for everybody. I got the intelligence that is usually sorely missing from big-budget Hollywood action films although I could have done with a bit more respect.
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9/10
We loved it! Imaginative, Romantic, Intriguing
dapplegrey137 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I was invited to a free screening with a big group of friends in Atlanta. I thought it might be right up my alley and it definitely WAS. It's similar to "Inception" (one of my very favorites), but simpler.

This fantasy-suspense-action-love story is very intriguing and ROMANTIC. I don't think any of us have seen Matt Damon be this passionate about a woman in film before. THIS is the very best Matt Damon I've ever seen -- he is at his most charming, lovable, and most moving here. And that's coming from a big fan of the Bourne Identity films, The Departed, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Rounders, and many other Damon films.

The Adjustment Bureau has a great supporting cast. Emily Blunt was delightful and mysterious..... There were quite a few laughs as well as some gasps from our audience (a packed house, too.) Most importantly, the STORY is intriguing. Yes, that's what makes the film unforgettable is simply the story. It's imaginative and very well-written.

It's a family-friendly film as best I remember --maybe PG-13 because of some almost-nudity; but no swearing, no gore, no bad scares, and no drugs or alcohol. It's all suspense, charm, intrigue, action, and romance!

If you are not a fan of The Matrix, Inception, Moon, Memento, or other fantasy type mind-benders, then you may not enjoy this film. We loved it though. We heard rave reviews from other audience members afterward, too.
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5/10
Ministry of Silly Hats
Colin George11 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"The Adjustment Bureau" is preposterous, and before you counter with "Well, duh, it's science fiction," allow me to elaborate. I'm down with the premise that mankind is safeguarded by an invisible shadow organization that dictates the paths we follow and the decisions we make— what baffles me is that they achieve these means through (spoiler alert?) magic hats. I wish I were joking. The single biggest misstep in this bungled Philip K. Dick adaptation is that the mystique of our antagonists is dispelled almost instantaneously. We get to know our aggressors who, as it turns out, are anything but aggressive. To compare genres, there's never been a great thriller where the detective in pursuit of a killer is 'just doing their job.' Passion breeds compelling cinema, and the paper pushers at the heart of "The Adjustment Bureau" are supremely uninteresting.

And despite the fact that they are explicitly "not human," a very human error sets the plot in motion. An Adjustment Bureau agent oversleeps (these guys sleep?), thus congressman and senate hopeful David Norris (Matt Damon) catches an early bus, bumping into a familiar comely Englishwoman (Emily Blunt) whom he was never supposed to see again. The film's saving grace is the pair's believable rapport, but after the forces that be repeatedly pull them apart, with sometimes years lapsing between meetings, it gets harder and harder to believe either is still carrying the other's torch.

Then you get into the contradictions and lapses in logic so heady a concept lends itself to. The law that governs the Adjustment Bureau is foggy at best, and though they evidently think nothing of freezing time to manually alter the opinion of Norris' political adviser, they seem incapable of preventing the divergences Norris himself so frequently propagates. Why not squelch Norris' irksome infatuation through similar tactics? Elsewhere, the Bureau threatens him with a memory wipe, but repeatedly chooses to reason with him rather than to take more effective action. For as much as they make of their supposedly infallible plan—which looks a lot like the animated Marauder's Map from "Harry Potter"—and the omniscience it grants, these celestial shepherds are about as dumb as sheepdogs.

In the belated final act, Norris races toward the mother of all movie climax clichés—the eleventh hour wedding intervention. With his unrequited love set to marry another dude, Norris exploits "The Adjustment Bureau's" two most ridiculous plot devices in order to intervene. First, he scores a magic hat, enabling him to access the subspace network that provides a series of shortcuts throughout New York. Second, he cloaks himself in a rainstorm, which like all water, inexplicably clouds the Bureau's ability to chart movement.

It's a shame that "The Adjustment Bureau" hangs its own proverbial hat on so many ludicrous details. The big questions it poses, while far from new, are well suited for a love story, and the directorial debut of screenwriter George Nolfi shows some promise. Unfortunately it's the writing that's at fault here, and while I can't speak to the source material, Nolfi's adaptation is rife with questionable choices. Potential squandered, "The Adjustment Bureau" is cast adrift in sci-fi no man's land between good intentions and their eye-rolling realization.

"Trust no one with a hat," Norris is melodramatically advised. "A Yankees cap, even a yarmulke." No joke, if you can swallow a line like that—hat's off.
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8/10
A thriller with no 'baddies'
Tweekums29 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The blurb on the DVD cover describes this as 'Bourne meets Inception', so as I enjoyed those films I was keen to see this. While there are similarities I must say I thought this was much lighter fare; that's not to say I didn't enjoy it though. At first it looked as this would be a political thriller; with candidate for the US Senate David Norris faces a surprise defeat. As he tries to compose his thoughts in the gents he is interrupted by a mysterious woman, before he gets chance to learn who she is he has to go. He doesn't expect to see her again but some time later he bumps into her on a New York bus, this time he gets her name (Elise) and number. He doesn't get chance to call her though as things suddenly get very strange for him; he gets to work and finds everybody frozen and strange men capture him and explain that it is their job to make sure that everything that is meant to happen does happen… and he was not meant to meet Elise! They take her number but he is determined to find her and one day three years later he does, their problems are only just beginning however as The Adjustment Bureau haven't given up their plans to keep them apart.

I really enjoyed this; Matt Damon but in a fine performance as David Norris and Emily Blunt was suitably beguiling as Elise. Other notable performances include Anthony Mackie as the Bureau man responsible for Norris and Terrance Stamp for played one of his superiors. There was enough excitement without having the action swamp the plot and character development. It also made a nice change for there to be no real bad guys in a film like this… The Bureau may have been against the protagonist's plans but their motivation was never sinister. I also liked that no attempt was made to explain how things worked; we were told the Bureau men's hats enabled then to use doors to travel across the city but no time was wasted giving reasons; it just had to be accepted. Over all it was a lot of fun; I'd certainly recommend it.
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9/10
How far would you go to be with the love of your life?
xwingz6 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The Adjustment Bureau, written and directed by George Nolfi based on a short story by the name of Adjustment Team by Philip K. Dick, is about how much one would be willing to sacrifice in the name of love. Matt Damon plays David Norris, a young, ambitious, idealistic Congressman seeking election for a seat in the Senate. However, upon a short encounter with Elise (Emily Blunt), when they share a brief but meaningful kiss, David realizes his true love lies with Elise, not at the hands of registered voters of New York City. The adjustment bureau quickly notices the spark, and was determined to separate the two lovers because according to "the plan", their love was never meant to be. David, however, refuses to back down, and fights against his fate to be with the one he loves. What makes The Adjustment Bureau a truly great movie is that it sends a powerful message: don't be afraid to go after what you want. Even if it means going against the will of a powerful, if not divine being. The movie makes it no secret that "the chairman" is a symbolism for God, and the people of the adjustment bureau are His angels ("we've been called that (angels)", says Harry Mitchell, a member of the adjustment bureau in one scene). However, in the film, even God is not all powerful, as He only has limited enforcers in the adjustment bureau, so if a nuclear warfare were to break out, even He could not prevent the catastrophe that would follow. The film also makes a strong case that free will does take its toll. As Thomson, another adjustment bureau member reminds us in another scene, that although "the chairman" has blessed us with the gifts of intellect and reason, it was those same gifts that caused the world to be on the brink of destruction during the Cuban missile crisis. To add additional pressure for David to keep away from Elise, Thomson informs David that if he chooses to be with her, not only will it ruin his dream, but will also ruin her dream (she is fated to be a famous dancer, and then a famous choreographer). As if to add insult to injury, Thomson flexes his muscle, causing Elise to sprain her ankle, then telling David that he is the one to blame for her injury. After a few twists and turns, the film reaches its climax with a showdown between David and the Thomson, which was very exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat (as did all other parts of the movie), I have to admit that the resolution was a bit of a cop out (I won't ruin it for you). In fact, if the movie had a resolution that was as epic as the rest of the storyline, I would not hesitate to give it 10/10 stars. Unfortunately, the ending did disappoint me a great deal, so as it stands, I'm giving it a 9/10. As a final note, I would like to say that you were planning on watching this movie at all, you almost certainly should see it in the theater. Director George Nolfi (FYI, this is his first movie as director) incorporates beautiful cinematography, as well as great sound mixing (or is it sound editing? I'm not sure). I especially loved the clicking noise of the dressing shoes of Thomson and his enforcers against the tile floor as they chase down David to set him on his "correct" path. The noise was complimented by their perfect formation, as they all send a clear message: we are the ones in charge, and we WILL hunt you down.
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7/10
Intriguing and Ambiguous Story
Claudio Carvalho17 August 2012
In New York, the prominent politician David Norris (Matt Damon) is disputing the election for the Senate but his past of bad boy makes him lose the election. He meets the stranger Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) hidden in the Waldorf's toilet and she tells that she had crashed a party and the security guards are chasing her. They start a conversation and they immediately fall in love with each other. However the guards find her and David does not see her again. However she inspires him to make a remarkable speech.

One day, David is traveling by bus and he meets Elise again. She gives her phone number to him and David promises to call her. However, strangers wearing hats approach to David and tell that they belong to the Adjustment Bureau and Elise and David must be kept apart. They destroy the piece of paper with her phone number and David is unable to contact Elise. Three years later, David sees Elise walking on the sidewalk. He gets out of the bus to meet her and he learns that she is a dancer. But the strangers use their abilities to keep them apart. What is the reason why David and Elise can not be together?

"The Adjustment Bureau" is a romantic and suspenseful sci-fi based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, the writer of "Blade Runner", "Total Recall", "Impostor", "Minority Report", "Paycheck", "A Scanner Darkly" and "Next", among other sci-fi films. The intriguing story is ambiguous; the chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt is wonderful; and it is always great to see Terence Stamp. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Os Agentes do Destino" ("The Agents of Destiny")
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10/10
Refreshing and Intriguing
Andrew Dawson10 February 2011
I was invited today to see an Advance Screening of this movie by a a friend and was excited to find out it was this movie. I had seen the preview during the commercial break from one of my TV shows that I follow and it seemed promising.

In a movie world today where everything released just seems to be sequel after sequel and remake after remake, I found this movie original and thought provoking. With a combination of elements that included thriller and science fiction themes, and then adding in a spiritual and romance side of things as well, this movie had it all.

I thought Matt Damon was excellent in his role and I was captivated for the whole movie in its concept it was drawing onto between fate and free will.

It is my hope many people will show up to see this movie. I loved it and know that I will definitely buy it when it's released on DVD in the future.

Oh and the theater I saw it in had a couple of hundred people watching it and they erupted into applause at the end. How often does that happen these days at the end of movies? Hopefully that tells you how great this movie was!
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1/10
it's a shocker
lawrence smith15 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
stupid, stupid movie, we have a group of people that include the Chairman (God)and the men (no women here) who make thing go according to plan (the angels). The single purpose of this group is to keep two people apart. To assist them in their undertaking they have their godlike supernatural abilities whereas the two people are just ordinary Americans. Amazingly enough we find that God and his angels are no match for two Americans and so the two people cannot be kept apart. Now it seems that God doesn't care to be thwarted so he or she decides to change the plan so that it is no longer necessary to keep them apart thus ensuring that everything still goes according to plan (the new plan). This change of heart seems to have something to do with a lower level angel although we are not sure how this comes about. This plot is quite ridiculous and an insult to peoples intelligence. It's even worse than the Bourne movies. I guess Mr Damon will do anything for a buck.
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