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80 out of 116 people found the following review useful:

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

8/10
Author: julian-mumford from New Zealand
9 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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47 out of 66 people found the following review useful:

Ministry of Silly Hats

5/10
Author: Colin George from United States
11 March 2011

*** This review may contain 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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120 out of 212 people found the following review useful:

More wasted potential when the concept was great but the treatment...

5/10
Author: lekgolah from United Kingdom
5 March 2011

Those who have seen the trailer will think that this is a cool, exciting action film about men who control the destinies of others and the man who says, "I will not stand for this!" but sadly that is not the story of the film. The concept is great and there are moments where I thought the film was going to get better because the story sounds interesting.

I'll start with the good. As I have mentioned before the film sounds interesting and as these mysterious men enter the film, you are interested to see what they can do. Anthony Mackie and John Slattery were well cast and Matt Damon's performance while not perfect (because of the script) is good and keeps the film together.

Apart from the above I can't think of anything else because the script is dull and the characters feel one-dimensional. Emily Blunt has little to do in the film and Terrence Stamp is completely misused. We hear how his character is cold and will do anything to get the job done but the film never shows this.

What could have saved the film would have been some kind of emotional pull if we felt that the two leads were meant to be together because that would have kept the film interesting. Instead there is little reason to care what happens by the end.

Themes including free will and pre-destination are mentioned and are interesting when they are brought up but the script doesn't do anything with it. Without spoiling anything, Matt Damon does make a discovery halfway through the film and it could have been a major plot point but the way film deals with it feels unnatural and out-of-character.

The film also lacks a sense of energy but maybe that is due to my initial expectations as the film is completely miss-marketed as an action thriller. However the film could have played up the villains in the film (if you can call them that) because you learn what they have done and what they are capable of doing.

In the hands of another director, this would have been an enjoyable film to watch. The idea is there but something went wrong along the way and this is the result. This isn't essential viewing but if you are interested, rent it.

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53 out of 81 people found the following review useful:

How far would you go to be with the love of your life?

9/10
Author: from United States
6 March 2011

*** This review may contain 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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194 out of 363 people found the following review useful:

To pay or not to pay

Author: dontcaretoshare-6512 from United States
12 January 2011

Jan 11: I was invited to see and rate this movie at a free audience screening. While biting the hand that feeds you is incredibly bad form, this film is not worth paying a full price admission. DO see it on the big screen, but go to the matinée instead.

Caveat, I'm not the target audience, (and hadn't read the short story source first) so for you to calibrate: I rated Jumper at 7; Avatar at 6 bumped up to an 8 for CGI; and Last Airbender at 3.

This film has all the individual elements for a great time: The opening draws you into the story; Blunt is engaging and sensual; Stamp is villainous; Damon/Blunt have fabulous chemistry including a great meet; initial mystery, sophisticated humor, snappy repartee, wonderful score, and superb scenery. The supporting characters are well cast and acted. However, the thin plot doesn't sustain the whole movie, and it takes too long for the minimal plot to unfold, even though there are myriad chase scenes to divert you at first.

The movie was seemingly created for chase scenes, with a poorly contrived reason for the "boy meets girl, boy loses girl but continues to search for her storyline", tossed in to justify all the chasing. In attempting to make everything mysterious, the audience is kept as ignorant as the characters to the point where it became "THATS the reason he's been chasing after her? How DISAPPOINTING!" when the cause for separation is unveiled. The secret meetings which presumably either advance or reveal the mystery were annoying instead. Finally, in the last portion of the movie, the opening doors and running become so repetitive, you can feel like the Blunt character, who has her hands over her head and is screaming. The ending is abrupt, contrived and disappointing, a veritable deus ex machina version.

Conversely, my companion who loves everything sci-fi or sci-fantasy, and reads Phillip K Dick (including the short story on which this was based) rated the movie "excellent" as opposed to my "ok". Even though the movie diverges from the short story, he suffered no confusion or disappointment with the story line, big reveals, or ending. He also thought the cast, romance, and humor were great.

We both agree--do see the movie on the big screen as it certainly enhances the suspense and startling moments (political crowd scene, adjustment scene, car crashes, action scenes and finale) and shows off the great NYC locations. He says go ahead and pay full price,the movie is worth it…

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70 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

Sparkling chemistry between Damon and Blunt

7/10
Author: changmoh from Malaysia
1 March 2011

Fate, coincidence and free will come at odds with one another in this sci-fi romance re-imagined by George Nolfi from the short story, "Adjustment Team", by sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick. Nolfi's plot can go from interesting and intriguing to downright silly at times but the main attraction is not the narrative. It is the pulsating chemistry between lead stars Matt Damon and the sensually beguiling Emily Blunt set in all the famous spots of Manhattan and NYC.

Having been to New York City recently, I find the sets nostalgic, and I am defenseless to the charms of Emily Blunt.

Young Senate candidate for New York City, David Norris (Damon), is rehearsing his speech in the men's restroom when a beautiful stranger (Blunt, right, with Damon) emerges from one of the stalls and starts chatting with him. Before she leaves - in quite a hurry - they have an impulsive, passionate kiss, and he is smitten. Their next encounter in a city bus has to be by chance - and he learns that her name is Elise. He is determined to call her. To court her...

And then David comes across a bunch of Men in Black suits and hats, led by a Mr Richardson (John Slattery), who says bluntly: "We are the people who make sure things go according to plan." David's relationship with the free-spirited Elise is NOT part of their plan and he must not see her again - for both his and her own good! The rest of the movie is, of course, the tussle between Love and Fate for David. After being charmed by Elise, a rising star ballerina, we can understand why David is bent on seeing her. We can also understand how their relationship would possibly wreck their careers - and why David would want to take a chance on that. David and Elise seem so perfect for each other that we root for them.

It is good that Nolfi has written such a romantic angle into this Dick tale instead of turning it into another action flick like "Total Recall", "Paycheck" and "Screamers". He could have polished up a bit more on the second half to keep it from becoming childish, though. Still, the notion of Fates personified could not be taken too seriously - and it would be better to just go along with the flow of the love story so charmingly portrayed by Damon and Blunt - and supported by a sympathetic Anthony Mackie and menacing Terence Stamp as members of the Adjustment Bureau. Emily Blunt has such captivating eyes that look into your soul and make you weep.

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48 out of 77 people found the following review useful:

it's a shocker

1/10
Author: lawrence smith from Pottsville Australia
15 March 2011

*** This review may contain 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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105 out of 193 people found the following review useful:

Terrible cliché religious propaganda

1/10
Author: dysperen from Denmark
27 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this film with my family and we all agreed at the end, that we should have left when we first thought of it only 15 minutes into it.

This is, by far, one of the worst movies I have ever seen. All of the characters are shallow, cliché and the acting is near awful. The plot is terrible. This is a really bad romantic drama, which premise is off the charts of ridicule. It is, seriously, hard for me to describe the worst parts, as there are endless amounts.

What I've learned from this movie is: - Don't run for president if you want love - God is a prick and hates love - God is not a prick, he/she just make crappy plans which need fixing and remodeling all time - God is maybe a prick, but is definitely incompetent - Humans easily outsmart God and a great bunch of angels - Don't do what God wants you to do, unless you really want to and then God is alright with it - Everything is a test. God just loves to play around and bruise your ankles, if necessary to test your love; he/she will even make a car crash happen and bruise innocent people just to test your love. Or maybe is it not god who did that, maybe it was the incompetent angels. Well, then you can conclude that god has some serious administration issues and a 'bureau' running wild.

Basically this is one terrible movie. It is a cliché 'romantic drama' which tells you to follow your instinct on love no matter what. If you do so, the woman of your life will automatically love you only after being with you 4 times over a period of 4 years. She will dump her fiancée just for you, because you made her laugh a few times and told her 'deep' stories about your dead father, who was a great man (or so we were told, as he is not introduced nor 'treated' in the movie at all, only spoken about).

This is religious propaganda, a terrible movie with a terrible plot, which wasted millions of dollars on something which should have never been produced.

I advice you to watch this movie, as it is a textbook example of how not to produce a movie and to laugh at religious clichés. It is not boring... Its just really bad.

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22 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Intriguing and Ambiguous Story

7/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
17 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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32 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

At Last, A Movie For People With ADD!

3/10
Author: BKTrayner from United States
6 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are many movies with impossible plots that are entertaining because you are carried along by the story. You don't notice the holes in the plot until the next day. In this case, the plot is not merely preposterous, it is transparent. As such, it is impossible to enjoy the movie because you are sitting in the theatre analyzing its faults. Let's begin with the idea that Matt Damon looks for his true love for 3 years after their chance meeting. O.K., so I didn't realize until the next day that his true love had crashed a wedding and that she was last seen being chased by security people much faster than she was. Matt could simply have checked back at the hotel to learn her identity. But even while I was watching the movie it was obvious that he plays a well-known public figure. So why didn't she just call him up? Once you realize this is all she would have to do, the premise of the movie collapses. In addition, as other reviewers have noted, the human hero is outwitting God. How believable is that? The angels suggest that God just doesn't have the resources to monitor everybody, so He focuses on "important" people. That's simply annoying. This is a God who (rather than knowing when any sparrow falls) apparently only knows when a condor falls. And then you have the angel who violates God's orders to help our hero find his true love by loaning him his cheesy hat. I could only think of the Red Hat Ladies. Where do they end up when they go though a door? I've never read (or heard of) the scifi novel from the 50's that this is based on, but I recognized the genre when it was postulated that all the large events of Western Civilization could be explained by times that God intervened and times when God took a hands-off approach: God was on-duty up to the Fall of Rome, but took the day off during the Dark Ages, etc. Other reviewers quibble that this ignores other cultures, but 1950's scifi was into sweeping concepts like this. Frankly, it is kinda neat, and as a teenager I would have been intrigued. But the problem here is that Hollywood has taken what was probably a pretty good idea from the 50's and trashed it. I'd bet that the author made a much more credible case for his premise and tied up the loose ends in a way that was internally consistent. Not so here. I give three stars because of the scenes of New York and because smoking was not prominently featured. Even Big Tobacco passed on this turkey.

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