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David Morris (Matt Damon) is running for office in New York. After a
shocking photo is revealed to the press, David realizes that his dream
of taking office as New York's next Governor isn't going to happen.
While prepping for his last big speech to congratulate the winner of
the election, he runs into a woman named Elise (Emily Blunt) who
changes everything. Elise makes David feel something that he has never
felt before and changes his whole outlook on life. This is when the
Adjustment Bureau steps in to make sure that Elise and David never
cross paths again. An interesting film about destiny ensues...
I have been seeing advertisements for "The Adjustment Bureau" for what seems like over a year now. The film was originally slated to be released in 2010 but the film went through some re-edits including some alterations with the ending. Needless to say, I was really worried when it was pushed back for so long. Normally in Hollywood, when a movie gets its release date moved so much, its a bad sign. I am happy to report, however, that the film is actually pretty solid and lives up to it's solid marketing campaign.
Emily Blunt and Matt Damon are the stars of the film and the two of them work great together. They have solid on-screen chemistry and seem like they really enjoyed working with one another. Damon's character David seemed like President Obama when he was running for office. Damon is skilled at playing characters like the one he played here. He plays the smart yet action packed role perfectly and has done so in several other films. Emily Blunt is great in the film as well. I enjoyed her humor and she has solid on screen presence. Her character is fun yet intelligent, which really made Elise such a likable character. She just felt real, like someone who you would meet in real life.
The other supporting actors were terrific as well. There are so many smaller roles in this film that I probably won't name them all but will focus on a few of the main ones. Anthony Mackie who played agent Mitchel, played a really solid character. It was interesting seeing him go through the emotions and fighting the idea of whether or not he should help David. John Slattery and Terence Stamp who also played agents in the film did a good job trying to warn David about adjusting his future. These supporting stars all helped to build the suspense in the film.
The best thing about "The Adjustment Bureau" is probably the story, which oddly enough is also it's biggest flaw. The idea of an organization that controls our faith and destiny is an interesting one. The film makes its audience wonder about the events that occur on a regular basis in ones life and asks the question was it part of a bigger plan or was it destiny? That idea alone is what makes this film interesting from start to finish. The audience is always trying to unravel the mystery behind what's going to happen next. We want to know how and why this organization is controlling the faith of David and Elise.
With that being said, the movie's idea is great but the script leaves the audience wanting more. Its one of those movies where the idea is intriguing but requires its audience to shut off their thinking caps. I will begin explaining this with the simple fact that David is running for major office, yet he is never surrounded by body guards or security. That seems odd from the get go. Then this organization gets introduced and why they pick him isn't really flesh out. Then the idea of going through doors isn't really discussed with enough detail either. The ending, while I did enough it, left me wanting more. I just felt that the story's premise was a great one especially for a film but it just wasn't intelligently executed. The story was more for the non-thinkers and I guess for a Hollywood type film, I shouldn't knock it because at least it was a creative story.
In closing, I ready did enjoy "The Adjustment Bureau" and thought it was a solid flick. The story will really grab the audience's attention and the performances by Blunt and Damon will have you at the edge of your seat and rooting for them at the same time. Some may argue that the end result was one that was too clichéd but I think in terms of the story here, it really made sense. I think even in life as much as we don't want to admit it, all we really want is companionship and the film really goes the distance to rely that message. Sure, it should have spent a little less time with that message and more about the bureau itself and I will not try to deny that. This film could have been a masterpiece if the storyline was better explained. I realize most people don't like thinking when they see a movie but I think nowadays with film's like "Inception" making big bucks, I think a few movies a year that challenge its audience really would be great. "The Adjustment Bureau" had the potential of being that type of film but instead it took the turn off your brain route instead. At the end of the day, it was a good flick with some flaws but I really did enjoy it from start to finish even though I had to turn off my brain to do so!
MovieManMenzel's final rating for "The Adjustment Bureau" was a 7 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Is love the ultimate affirmation of free will, or its negation?" -
Based on "The Adjustment Team", a 1954 short story by Philip K. Dick, George Nolfi's "The Adjustment Bureau" stars Matt Damon as a Congressman who has a chance encounter with Elise, a beautiful young woman. Damon, it later turns out, is being groomed by an agency called The Adjustment Bureau. A cross between angelic beings, deities, extraterrestrials and Rene Magritte paintings, the members of the Bureau are essentially puppet-masters who control mankind. Led by a mysterious, god-like figure called The Chairman, the Bureau manipulates various real world variables such that they have knock-on, future effects. Their goal? For Damon to fulfil his dream of becoming the future President of the United States. To accomplish this they must prevent Elise and Damon falling in love.
In the original short story, Dick turns the question of human agency into a real corporate agency The Adjustment Bureau. The Bureau then essentially becomes a metaphor for investigating various then-novel ideas relating to hard and soft free-will, determinism, indeterminism, predestination, existentialism and cause-and-effect. The idea is that human beings have much less free-will than they typically imagine, and that a myriad of invisible entities, or invisible variables social, external, environmental, biological, neurological, genetic, cultural, language etc are responsible for our actions, thoughts and who we are. Indeed, many recent experiments are starting to show that a large number of human activities, actions, thought processes etc are preconscious; they occur before we consciously decide to do them. Later Dick stories would push this further. The Self, what you think of as a free, independent controlling agent, would be reconfigured altogether; it becomes both Other and Nothing, a phenomenal self model (an accidental byproduct of an interplay between the senses and consciousness) whose content is not innate but impersonally programmed by extrinsic sources. The self, what you think as You, is a relatively recently "built" neurocomputational model - not a soul or mental or coherent essence - which mistakes itself for an uncaused causer capable of initiating causal chains.
Today many neuroscientists are quite happy to cast away the notion of freewill, the Sovereigh Self and believe in something very much like Dick's "Adjustment Team". Entities do control us, they're just not literal sentient beings. To Eastern religions, this is hardly radical. Indeed, the major religions of both the East and the West can be seen as a response to the Self. Very broadly speaking, Western monotheistic religions assert the existence of a God whose authority, strength, demands and wisdom keep the Self concrete, whereas Eastern religions try to weaken these ideas, and stresses a kind of depersonalisation, or collapsing of all barriers. One side's ego boosting (you're real, you matter, God's given you the ability to choose, a preoccupation with acquisition etc), one seeks ego death (the self as illusion, a preoccupation with letting go, self as illusionary artifact of the mind, no independent bodies, only interconnected matter etc).
George Nolfi is a Christian, however, and has constructed "The Adjustment Beaurea" to reflect a very conservative, traditionally Christian slant. So in his hands The Chairman covertly becomes a stand-in for God and Damon is vaguely emblematic of various Biblical tenets. Damon has no choice, no free will, is a lowly animal, until he "disobeys god's plan" and "chooses love", which is then revealed to have been "the plan all along". Like a good Christian, Damon questions whether his will is better than god's plan and asks how can he be responsible if all is predestined by God. The final message is what some old Christian philosophers called the "axiom of authentic love". God's plan in the film is for Damon to freely choose between loving another and fulfilling his dreams of becoming the President.
While this may make a reasonably competent action thriller, philosophically it's mostly stupid (continuous rewrites have left the film thematically incoherent). In the real world there is no plan, there is no god, the lack of a plan doesn't necessarily mean man now has free will (one can have no free will precisely because they are buffeted by arbitrary variables) and the notion that "choosing love" signifies "free choice" ignores the fact that there are few things less free than "romantic love". Today many studies are starting to show that in issues of love, learning, choices, actions etc, your brain/body makes decisions long before you consciously know it, man acting before he becomes conscious of making the decision to act. In effect, we are so programmed that we can't even conceive of just how programmed we are. This is not to say that there is "no such thing as free will", but there are nuances and factors involved that completely contradict Nolfi's false binary. Nolfi puts "Damon freely choosing to love Elise" on one side, and "Damon forced to obey a rigid plan" on the other, but "choosing to love Elise" is exactly as "unfree" as "obeying the plan", and real world "plan's" are both as whimsically arbitrary yet as rigidly coded as this act of love. What the film wants you to believe in is a very Christian, Western version of Man as a wholly autonomous, free agents who is "allowed by God to be free" but only so that he may "choose between good or bad". It's not quite the Biblical blackmail tale of the New Testament, but is almost.
5/10 - Worth one viewing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a great movie I enjoyed every minute of it while watching it
via DVR (came on a movie channel).
I didn't expect too much out of a movie like this but in the end it was pretty good at one point I got kind of wrapped up into some of the characters and even noticed one of the agents being one of the people for the daily show for an interview I said out loud "Don't follow that man!" then realized I had caught on to the plot very well to it.
Some of the characters could have been well adjusted better such as the people at the Bureau, whom in the movie tend to be very mysterious people who follow "The Plan," like men in black mysterious. Although this was probably the intent of such people so that is well expected.
Overall this was a pretty good movie and doesn't bore you to death it will keep you entertained throughout the movie and you will enjoy it.
What could have been a nifty, high-concept premise is hampered by poor
execution in this supernatural thriller starring Matt Damon and Emily
The religious angle is pushed a little too hard for my personal taste, but I could even have swallowed that if it hadn't been couched in a lame script that spends half of its time delivering plot exposition straight up to the audience. There are a thousand plot holes throughout the movie that had my wife and I rolling our eyes with exasperation, and most of them are admittedly nicely resolved by the ending. But though I liked the resolution the movie came to -- and the message about the role free will plays in the lives of men -- a good movie doesn't make its audience wait until the very last scene to convince them that it's not just a stupid and badly-written piece of disposable junk.
Emily Blunt is appealing as always, but her character is terribly annoying (I would have slapped her right around the time she dunked my cell phone in a cup of coffee), and Matt Damon is serviceable but unmemorable. John Slattery has fun simply playing a variation on Roger, his character from "Mad Men," and Terence Stamp tries to bring some British dignity to the proceedings, if unsuccessfully.
Saw this on the plane so it was either free or $1800 depending how you
look at it. Even free, on a plane with nothing else to do it was still
a waste of my life. A blood clot would have been preferable. I watched
it with open amazement that something could be this bad. Ridiculous
story line, things made up just to explain away the poor story line but
the explanations even worse than the story line, actors just phoning
their performances in, people bing chased for 10 minutes just to pad
the movie time out and even worse it seemed to have some insidious
religious angle shoe-horned in.
I had a bet with a friend that this had 4 tops on the IMDb and I could laugh with my fellow humans at how rubbish this movie is. Instead I saw it had 7.1 and so posted my first review ever so I can do my bit for the human race and maybe save one person from watching this movie.
This feature certainly feels like it was based on a short story.
The original idea comes from the legendary pen of sci-fi author Philip K Dick. That idea is essentially that the world is shaped and directed by a group of what I would call "God's bureaucrats", who intervene with human affairs in a darkly comic, cloak and dagger 50s spy film kind of way.
We explore the idea of free will and divine intervention through the experience of one man, played by Matt Damon, as he struggles to choose his own fate, even as it clashes with The Plan of "The Chairman". (Yes folks, Frank Sinatra is running things upstairs. But I digress..)
The beautiful Emily Blunt brings charm and emotional depth to the love story, so much so that I can almost forgive its predominance over the broader sci-fi elements. She can have all the screen time she wants.
But there's not enough juice here for sci-fi heads - the mind bending ideas are not fully explored, and we're left with more questions than answers. The Bureau remains a mysterious place, reminiscent of Get Smart's CONTROL. It's an entertaining ride, and a love story with a light philosophical bent, but it's not a Philip K Dick sci-fi.
Before I saw The Adjustment Bureau I was unsure what to expect from it. On the one hand, the trailer depicted what looked like an action-packed surreal thriller. On the other hand, I had seen tedious film posters claiming 'It's Bourne meets Inception!'; about as vague a description of a film as describing Finding Nemo as 'Jaws meets Toy Story'. It starts promisingly, and to its credit, the lead performances are strong and the chemistry worked. However, about halfway through the film, the plot takes off in a random unconvincing direction that builds up to an ultimately unsatisfying conclusion. Good if you like lots of footage of Matt Damon running through doors away from men in hats who don't like the rain.
This film really was a waste of my time.
The premise was interesting, but the execution was so boring. Nothing really happened in this film except some chasing, and some talking. How the hell can such a piece of garbage be rated so highly? Is it because Matt Damon is in it?
I really don't know what the point of this film was, and I just finished watching it. Something to do with magic interference in the world, or something. You're left wondering what the hell is going on.
Watch this film if you're bored and don't mind wasting 1 1/2-hours of your time on nothing much.
--- Edit: I just have to say, how the fudge did this pile of turd cost $50m to make?! Also, why is this rated so highly? I've seen some crap films in my time, but at least the scripts usually have something interesting in them somewhere.
This film is devoid of plot twists, intrigue, and a reason to keep you watching... except to see if anything happens, which it doesn't.
What I liked about this movie was the ensemble of actors that provided
what by any standards was a fine display of talent, Matt Damon (who
never disappoints), Emily Blunt and Terence stamp were remarkable, they
surprisingly held together a plot that would have been flat and dour
but for their extraordinary skill.
The premise is good but the delivery poor, I liked the idea of a bureau that controls world destiny, but the dudes I saw in the movie could have been more slick more bad ass, when I finally settled down to accepting what was on the plate I realized half way through that nothing big was going to happen the story is simply about the bureau trying to keep Blunt's and Damon's characters apart.
So I settled down to enjoying the romance and chemistry while waiting for a unique twist at the end, well there was none and the anti climax was not block buster worthy.
I'd say watch the movie but don't hold your breath.
The movie started out well but quickly falls apart. The premise is good but rapidly deteriorates to the convenient, ultimately leaving the audience feeling like it's been taken on ride in a '68 Volkswagen Bus, lots of noise, bumpy uncomfortable ride, and tries to get you there but breaks down on the road. I was so disgusted after this movie that I started to ask for my money back. They were all over the place with the plot, throwing in the ludicrous and incredible just to get you to the next scene. It's like the writer's couldn't decide whether this was a romance or a tragedy so instead they turned it into a cacophony of mouth to the side occurrences. I hated it.
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