The Adjustment Bureau Directed by: George Nolfi Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Terence Stamp Running Time: 1 hr 46 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: March 4, 2011
PLOT: David (Damon) is guided and groomed for a Senate position., but once he falls in love with Elise (Blunt), a secret group tries to stop the relationship.
WHO'S IT FOR? Guys who want a little action and sci-fi elements. Women who want a little romance. Yeah, that about covers everyone.
EXPECTATIONS: Damon hasn't been in great movies lately as the lead (Green Zone, etc) and Blunt messed up her last one with Wolfman, but I typically want to like both of these actors. I knew nothing of the movie, except Damon say something he wasn't supposed to see.
Matt Damon as David Norris: Damon as a potential politician is perfect. Just like the movie Dave with Kevin Kline, we love our fictitious politicians to shoot from the hip, confess the truths and truly make the world a better place. Damon's wipe-eyed confusion helps the audience feel like it's OK that we don't understand everything in The Adjustment Bureau, which is insanely important in a mindbender. Also, here's something probably only I will talk about. Damon is the co-captain with Tom Cruise on the "Hollywood All-Star Running Team." Just look at the Bourne Trilogy for the perfect examples. Damon is a great movie runner. Well, you know what? He changed up his style in this one. Why? Because I can only conclude he cares about his work and is aware of "the moment." Here, he's almost anxious and a little unnatural with his running. It's short steps (literally). Score: 9
Emily Blunt as Elise Sellas: Dancing women are beautiful, right? Especially if they look like Blunt. She's artistic and out there and men should eat this up. It's the first impression that matters here and with Damon's help, they nail it. There's a bathroom scene where they first meet and fall for one another. She's funny and intriguing and I can believe why he's hooked. You believe they should kiss after knowing each other for a few minutes. After that, it's hope. If you hope for love, you can understand why she can feel the way she does even though she has no idea about the bigger picture. Score: 9
Anthony Mackie as Harry Mitchell: You always need a guy willing to bend the rules, right? Harry falls asleep. He's been working his butt off. You can relate, right? Well, then he has to chase down a bus to make sure David gets back on the right path. We don't understand the "science" of this yet in the movie, but Mackie makes us understand it's important. Also, Harry brings a little more heart, just in case you needed it. It's a great follow-up to The Hurt Locker. Score: 8
John Slattery as Richardson: Love "Mad Men"? Me too. Then this is perfect casting. Not only does the suit help, but the attitude is very similar as well. You can easily see Roger Sterling saying the same things. This isn't a bad thing. There's not too many episodes of "Mad Men" yet and Slattery hasn't done this character every where he goes. I feel like I am defending even though no one is complaining. If you don't love "Mad Men" maybe Richardson will help you start to see the error of your ways. Score: 8
Terence Stamp as Thompson: It's presence. It's Zod. They needed someone who would command authority in a quick amount of time. Stamp is perfect for this role and his speech about free will and how humans have handled it should hit everybody on some sort of level. Score: 9
TALKING: Less is more with the science of The Adjustment Bureau. Just like Inception the fun and wonder would disappear if everything is over-explained. Just think about Midichlorians from Star Wars if you don't believe me. The art of politics is discussed well when David "goes rogue" and talks about the choosing of a tie. As far as the rules of this world go ... You can't watch everyone. Water blocks. Hats are good. That's good with me! And women, get week in the knees when David says, "The morning after I woke up thinking about you." Trust me, he's on a bus when he says it, and it should work on you. Score: 8
SIGHTS: Good suits. Nice hats. The door technology is fluid. The notebooks are something you'll try to steal more glances at, even though we're really just looking at blue and red dots. New York is a character. It's almost like the entire world is New York for this film and that's fine by me. Score: 8
SOUNDS: This is another case of the musical score doing it's job well. You care more, you get more excited, and you barely realize it's partly because of the music. Richard Ashcroft shows up and I used to be a big fan. He was the lead singer of The Verve who did songs like "Lucky Man." I think his voice is built for a soundtrack. Emotion, feeling ... and typically only one song. Perfect amount. Score: 7
BEST SCENE: David won't quit. He's determined. Shortly after understanding the rules set forth by The Chairman, he begins to run after Elise. He gets a glimpse at the consequences when an accident happens.
ENDING: I expected a bigger high. The film seems to deflate just slightly at the end. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of this film. I just didn't feel it was quite "grand" enough.
QUESTIONS: The only thing I question is that when the presidency is on the line, David doesn't really seem to hesitate, like he's not really absorbing the magnitude of the situation at hand.
REWATCHABILITY: Yes, though I'll wait just a little bit. I could see taking my wife to this when it's at one of Portland's great second-run theaters.
You might not think Matt Damon went anywhere, but I did. Ed Norton and Damon sat on my young actor mountaintop. The three pack of Hereafter, Green Zone and Invictus gave me a little doubt. It was like he was missing some of his best years. I don't have to worry anymore, but thanks for all of the well-wishes and letters. They helped me get through that time. With True Grit and The Adjustment Bureau it's some of his best back-to-back work.
We get to look behind the curtain with a fairly new look at what is in control of this crazy, mixed up thing called life. The Adjustment Bureau takes the viewpoint of a business. The suits, the fedoras, the deadlines ... it's probably how we would attempt to create a new religion in today's world.
I am Number Four (I apologize for bringing up such an average film during this review) attempted to appeal to everyone, and therefore didn't do anything that well. The Adjustment Bureau gets the right kind of combination of action, thrills, and most importantly romance. In fact, it's a nicely disguised romance at its core. David is hooked. Blindsided by love. Hopefully we've all been there. If not, at least you can with this film. Fate. Hope. Chance. Free will. The concepts should sit well with you no matter what your beliefs. It'd be nice if the world worked this way, especially the hats.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10