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The Adjustment Bureau works behind the scenes arranging people's fate.
But David Norriss wants to control his own fate. He manages to catch
the Bureau in the act of "adjusting" his fate and is threatened to
never speak of it and to stay away from a woman he has just met. The
Bureau attempts to enforce this separation but Norriss avoids them and
foils their varied efforts.
I was expecting a sci-fi thriller, but instead found romantic and religious mush. Was it a stab at the Greek gods, God, a debate personified, or the visual musings of the existence of any supreme being. It really wasn't worth my time or money.
*** This review may contain 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
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.
This film offers an interesting idea regarding an unworldly force that
nudges and directs the path all of our lives take, it could have done a
lot with it but what it decides to do is make a romantic film within
this plot. Now there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself but
someone should really have a word with the marketing department who
decided that a concept-thriller would be easier to sell, since that is
very much the film they set their campaign around not this one.
Anyway, cheap marketing aside, I came to this film on DVD with the
trailers a long distance memory and average word of mouth having
lowered my expectations somewhat.
The film starts with some spark and drive to it as we are introduced to the characters and have the curtains pulled back to reveal what is really going on and the power that "they" have. At this point I was interested but as the film progressed this was slowly worn out of me. Some will say this is because I am not a romantic; while that may well be true I did actually like the romance between David and Elise, it was well played and the two had that sort of spark that was required to make me believe in them after so little time, so my problem with the film isn't that the central motivator for the events is this potential love between them. No, my problem with the film is with what it does with the idea itself which is practically nothing.
The film has very little pace and generally it drags itself along with the audience always looking over their shoulder to see where the film is we're already 2 steps ahead and it would be lovely if the film at very least kept up with us. It doesn't though, it plays its spiritual card very early on and it never presents a real danger or threat to be overcome the men in hats never come off as controlling or a threat or even anything close, at worst they come off as stuffy old kill-joys and in this way they make a poor "opposition" for our protagonist. I'm not suggesting I needed this to be an action movie, but the lack of any sort of sense of threat or urgency really hurts the film because this "idea" is the majority of the film, not the romance so to mess up the basis for your film is not going to go well.
It is a credit to the on screen presence and charm of both Damon and Blunt that the romance side of the film works well, they both held my attention and kept me interested even when the rest of the film was so very light and surprisingly bland. Mackie, Slattery and Stamp deserved better all three of them seemed to be phoning it in without anything really going on in their performances, only the odd flutter of urgency gave them good moments but otherwise they are let down. And they are let down by writer/director Nolfi; this guy has been the writer on a couple of big money-makers but he has done himself no favours with this effort he loses the idea and gets tied up with the romance, forgetting that the idea is the story, not the romance. He lets his cast down and he lets the audience down it still all looks expensive and professionally done, but this is for little comfort when the story-telling is so fluffed.
The Adjustment Bureau may well be built on a good idea (I will find and read Adjustment Team) but it does very little with it. The romance at the core is engaging but the idea is lost and is handled badly. There is little of interest, threat or pace about it; it isn't a terrible film by any means, it is just so average and lacking in edge that I really found it hard to care and the fact that I was often ahead of it in regards narrative really didn't help either.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Movie Review: "The Adjustment Bureau" A wannabe sci-fi film with a very interesting premise, only to turn into a lame love story!!!!! Matt Damon stars as David Norris, an up and coming politician. After failing to secure a seat in the NY Senate seat in his first attempt, David has a fate encounter with a mysterious ballerina in the restroom of the Waldorf Astoria. This incident triggers a set of pre-determined events which will enable the continued success of all mankind. To ensure that this master plan is followed, the "chairman" has dispatched "case workers" or some may call "angels" to nudge or direct key people in order to guarantee that these predestined happenings occur. When the master plan gets derailed or goes off-course, a special group of individuals (men in hats) called "The Adjustment Bureau" is called upon to correct the timeline. In the scenario of this film, it's a "second chance" meeting of Norris and the ballerina. The Master Plan has it preordained that these two individuals should never come in contact again. However, no matter how hard the "Adjustment Bureau" tries to redirect, hinder, or disrupt these two from coming in contact . An even larger force or entity seems determined to bring the two back together. AND THIS IS WHERE THIS MOVIE GOES TO HELL IN A HAND BASKET!!! Instead of this force or entity being some sort of "anti-chairman", bent on the destruction of mankind it's the power of LOVE that cannot be stopped . OMG, PLEASEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! So when the Norris character (Damon) is given the option of never seeing the ballerina again, or it could mean the end of civilization as we know it; he opts for being with the girl!!! And that my friends, is where the film spirals into mediocrity!!! What occurs next is a ridiculous chase through a series of "magical doors" in which only "men with hats" can manipulate; and if this sounds ludicrous, IT'S BECAUSE IT IS!!!! How a movie with so much potential, could turn into such a pile of drivel, I will never know . I cannot / will not recommend this film, and would avoid at all cost!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Don't bother to watch this silly yawn of a movie. It's neither here nor there. This movie is totally missable. The story is weak and the cast is totally wrong for their parts. There is no chemistry between the leads. Matt Damon looks too boyish for a senator and is a bit small sized for Emily. Emily looks a bit cross eyed and doesn't have that lean look of a ballerina. Serious miscasting. The running around and doors are repetitive and the passing of time is abrupt. The ending is a let down. Just a silly far fetched waste of time. The basic premise makes no sense if you think about it. Can't imagine why people went to see this dud and the box office was so respectable.
While the agents (angels?) are powerful enough to erase minds and alter
anyone's circumstances, they nonetheless *must* keep their magic hats
on. They also constantly consult what appears to be mildly-advanced
I can't imagine why Matt Damon agreed to this project. Was anyone involved in this production familiar with the adage, "Show, don't tell." There is on-going and seemingly never-ending exposition, which only succeeds in exposing the silliness of the plot. Further, there are the rules that Damon's character is not to break, but when he does so anyway, his punishments are about as harsh as those Hogan received from Colonel Klink.
Meanwhile, the love story is weak (just as the actors' chemistry). Unconvincing, they declare they've found "true love," when they've only spent a handful of brief moments together. Hey, at least their "meet cute" was especially accidental.
Overall, it's an overly long and fairly lame film. You just might want to skip this one.
"The Adjustment Bureau" is a first-time piece of directing work by a
certain George Nolfi, who before had worked in Hollywood pretty much
exclusively as a screenwriter. He also composed the script for this
picture and that is half of what impressed me so much. Just looking at
the way he choreographed his images, and worked so well with his two
stars, despite the occasional lapse here and there expected of somebody
making their first feature-length motion picture, I must say I am
eagerly looking forward to his entire career. For "The Adjustment
Bureau," while not any kind of a masterpiece, is one of the most
unexpectedly pleasing and wholeheartedly enjoyable movies of the year.
Mr. Nolfi's involvement in the third Jason Bourne movie may have had some input in his getting Matt Damon to take the lead as an ambitious but somewhat dubious New York governor candidate. Through some odd and very charming circumstances, Mr. Damon runs into a bold, pretty young ballet dancer played by the always intoxicating Emily Blunt. Affectionate toward each other at first sight, they slowly fall in love and try to reach each other several times over a period lasting years. But the only thing tearing them apart and stopping them is not a jealous ex, not a terrorist plot, but instead a group of mysterious men in 30s-style jackets and fedoras calling themselves the Adjustment Bureau.
The screenplay was based on a Philip K. Dick story called "The Adjustment Team" and although the story is completely warped, the purpose of the titular men remains essentially the same. Their purpose, as a character played by very-good actor John Slattery explains, is to control how time plays out. Time and fate is prewritten in what is called 'The Plan' and they work in groups to make sure that things play out according to 'The Plan,' using whatever methods possible to make sure that the rest of the world falls in accordance to it. And as it turns out, the romance between Mr. Damon and Miss Blunt is something that is prohibited in their strategy and the film evolves into a very passionate and exciting story about two people deciding what is more important: to be with who you love, or to do what is better for the world entire.
With a plot this extravagant, it is surprising that director Mr. Nolfi did not blunder into an entirely corny yarn. Occasionally, he does falter (some of the scientific lingo gets a little too pseudointellectual for my taste) but as a total, he succeeds in weaving a strong and passionate tale. But that may also return to the surmise that "The Adjustment Bureau" is not really a science-fiction tale. Rather, it is a deep romantic thriller that benefits from two sharply-written characters and two very charismatic performances. The movie rides on the romance between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt and you could not ask for better performances. This coming from someone who typically gripes at the 'Love At First Sight' gimmick but became an instant sucker for it here within ten minutes. Mr. Damon, who usually casts himself as tough guys with pasts, takes a chance at playing a softer, more emotional type who does not hurl a fist until the third act and does not instantly become a stuntman. And Miss Blunt does a fabulous job playing a courageous and strong-hearted woman. It's their chemistry and their moments together that really benefit the picture. For right away, I believed in the love brewing between them and it mattered to me whether or not they actually got together at the end. Just looking at these two people together is absolutely charming and even the obligatory love moment between them in bed is performed and shot in such a way that it does not become unnecessarily erotic and doesn't stop the story. Rather, it seems to work, like a piece of a puzzle.
That is the definition of a good love story. If you were to take it out and transplant it in some totally different movie, it would still work.
The love story is more interesting than the Adjustment Bureau men themselves and that may be one of the weaknesses of the picture. Despite some great performances from John Slattery, Anthony Mackie, and Terence Stamp, and the fact that we see inside of their operations quite a bit, we don't really come to know much about them. In addition, because this is a first-time directing job, some of the shots are imperfect. A moment where Mr. Damon tries to escape from the Bureau men and trips on a rising floor tile is awkward. The shot seems sped-up too fast and his leg hangs in the air for too long.
My only real complaint about "The Adjustment Bureau" would have to be the much-griped-about ending, which has some religious subtexts that may anger some. Not offended myself, I just felt it, despite that wonderful shot of the two leads - and one of the few times where I liked the shot of the camera whirling 360 degrees around them - was a bit of a cop-out and not entirely satisfying.
But my few notifications aside, I must happily repeat that this is one marvelously entertaining and emotionally-gripping little movie. And despite the fact that there have been some better-made pictures this year, few of them are liable to last as long in the memory as it. Sometimes it's better when a picture does not aim for masterpiece-status and it's better for the audience going in with an open mind and not assaulted by a big hype campaign. For then a movie like this becomes even more surprising and delightful. Congratulations all around, especially to Mr. Damon and Miss Blunt for their fabulous performances, and to writer-director George Nolfi, who has made a more-than-impressive first step into the most-cherished profession of directing motion pictures.
A new member of the official Hollywood script-pickers club. Not even Ben Affleck would touch this one. The ideas for new movies are becoming increasingly bizarre. Inception, The Tourist and now this oddment. Let's stick to remakes, or even movies that aren't exact remakes but are really (for example, Goonies becomes Super 8). Some people believe that you need to go to a cinema and view these pieces of work on the silver screen. Unfortunately, you have to pay for that and since George Lucas's hi-jacking of Star Wars I am reluctant to trust the straight to general cinema releases as a mark of quality. In fact, the limited release movies are often much more creative and original. I give this movie 2 stars but only for the ridiculous hats, the true stars of the show.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw HEREAFTER...and been quite a bit apprehensive because of it,
fearing for another disaster. But I was wrong...so wrong and I'm more
than glad to admit this! The movie tells an interesting story and more
so it's entertaining and sweet. There is true chemistry portrayed on
screen which makes an unbelievable story of love and destiny,
believable. All in all this film is done so well; it makes you want to
believe it's all possible. (The hat thing was a great twist, I
thought.) But it's not all mushy gooey love and kisses that makes
cherubs puke. There is actually quite a bit of movement and a few
ounces of mystery all mixed in the Adjustment bureau
Religion, though never mentioned in this production does play a role and so it is only natural that both sides of the religious spectrum will have strong opinions about it. All I can say is: ITS A MOVIE, MEANT TO BE ENTERTAINING! Sometimes we dig too deep to question things that better be left unasked. The plot has a few holes which could have easily been taken care of with an easy explanation. I, for my part however usually don't go see a movie and start analyzing the plot from start to finish... I more so decide once the film is over whether or not I was entertained by it and whether or not I'd watch it again. Based on that I had to rate this movie highly and so I can't help but proclaim that in my opinion I did enjoy the journey the Adjustment Bureau has taken me on. All in all it is a good movie for date-night or a girl's night out.
A film that starts out well with great acting from both Damon and his
love interest in the film played by Emily Blunt. With an interesting
premise in which Damon uncovers a group of people running the show on
Earth from an alternate dimension, the film however quickly turns for
the worst with Sesame Street caliber turns of plot which are so inane
one wonders if they intended to make a comedy. With a steal from The
Matrix here and a pinch from The Thirteenth Floor and Man in Black
there, Adjustment Bureau just becomes annoying to watch after a while.
The romantic scenes with Damon and Blunt seem to drag more and more as
the film progresses and fail to add to the mystery or any other aspect
of the story.
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