on March 5, 2011
There's a scene in "Citizen Kane" where one of the characters mentions seeing a beautiful girl on a trolley and he regrets not sitting next to her, and not one day goes by where he doesn't think of that girl. We all have experiences and memories like that, we wonder what our lives would have been like if we did sit next to that girl, or if we did talk to her, or get her number (undoubtedly, we lay more importance on these experiences than they may deserve. They're giant `what if' moments in our lives, the path not taken). But what if that moment of decision is the intrusion of destiny or fate? And we we're supposed to be with that person? That is the theme of "The Adjustment Bureau."
David Norris (Matt Damon) is a fast rising Congressman with a great political future. As he is set to win his race for the Senate, a revelation comes out that puts his whole political future in question. He goes into a men's room to rehearse his concession speech and meets Elise (Emily Blunt) and they feel that instant attraction of `knowing' they should be together. But circumstances pull them apart, or do they? The next day David catches an adjustment team, headed by Richardson (John Slattery) looking like he kept the wardrobe from "Mad Men." The only reason Norris witnesses this is because the adjuster assigned to him, Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie), was literally asleep on the job. Richardson convinces David that it's for the best that he forget he ever saw them and that he should forget ever meeting Elise or else his destiny won't be fulfilled. Of course David can't stop thinking of Elise and sets out to find her, and the right to choose the course of his life.
"The Adjustment Bureau" is based on a Philip K. Dick short story. For the past thirty years or so Hollywood has been availing themselves of the topsy-turvy worlds Dick created. Some of the more successful of those being "Blade Runner," "Total Recall," and "A Scanner Darkly." Where does "The Adjustment Bureau" fit in? Right in the middle with "Paycheck" Ben Affleck's Philip K. Dick based movie. Philip K. Dick's novels and short stories can really turn your head around. Dick turned reality on its head in his stories and usually turned that reality in on itself too. "The Adjustment Bureau" takes on the challenge of free will versus fate, and while it plays with it a bit it doesn't turn your head around, and leaves it a pretty simple discussion.
The acting in "The Adjustment Bureau" is fine. There are no emotional pyrotechnics or great ranges explored but the characters are believable, and the chemistry between Damon and Blunt is palpable. When they kiss at their first meeting you feel the intimacy and impulsiveness of the moment.
"The Adjustment Bureau" is a nice light movie to provoke a little post movie discussion or a nice adventure and peek behind reality's curtain. It just might be your destiny to see this movie if you make the choice to.
on May 14, 2011
Just as Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Widescreen Edition) was a love story with a slightly different angle of sci-fi-type themes, "The Adjustment Bureau" is a sci-fi/suspense love story. It may seem a bit out there or far-fetched, but, trust me, it works! Matt Damon and Emily Blunt have amazing chemistry together; it's easy to root for these two as they take on the agency that's doing everything within their unlimited power to keep them apart. The movie, based on a story by Philip K. Dick (also responsible for Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition),Paycheck (Special Collector's Edition),Minority Report (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition),Total Recall,A Scanner Darkly,Screamers,Next), does well with its story and pacing. The acting is well done and it definitely has "multiple viewing" potential (especially for fans of Damon and Blunt). The great thing about this film, though, is not just the overall idea of the film, but also the questions that arise from such a film. Would you sacrifice a better life for your love? This film explores that idea with both sides being equally explored. "Adjustment Bureau" is one of the best of the year so far and highly enjoyable.
on August 10, 2011
This film was well done. Without ever once bringing religion into it, it covered the discussion of Free Will vs Destiny as it relates to two people in love.
Someone may quibble over the one mention of angels but seriously not once did I feel like any one was proselytizing for any viewpoint over another. Delightfully refreshing in this time of polarization and fanatacism.
Watch it and decide for your self. I plan to buy this one for my library.
on March 14, 2011
The Adjustment Bureau, directed by George Nolfi and starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, is something of a rarity - a romance movie within a sci-fi setting that actually works. The reason for this is that while The Adjustment Bureau is nominally based on a short story - "The Adjustment Team" - by Philip K. Dick, at its heart its true roots are to be found in Michael Powell's 1946 romantic fantasy film Stairway To Heaven (also known by its original UK title A Matter Of Life And Death), where two people who meet by chance and fall in love must deal with divine powers bent on seperating them.
A rising young New York politician, David Norris (Matt Damon), on election night of his first senate bid, has a chance meeting with a young dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) that changes his life. But unfortunately he comes away from the encounter with only her first name and nothing else, leaving him no way of finding her. One morning, a short time later, we become aware that a group of men, all wearing hats, seem to be taking a strange interest in Norris. One of them, who goes by the name of Harry (Anthony Mackie), has been given the strange assignment of making sure Norris spills his coffee on himself by 7:05AM. Things, however, do not go as planned, and as a result, two things happen: (1) Norris runs into Elise on the bus, this time getting her phone number, and (2) Norris inadvertently stumbles across the existence of the Men In Hats in the act of manipulating events in his life. And is told by them that he must never reveal what he has learned to anyone, and that he must never see Elise again because it's not part of their plan for him. And because seeing her will not only ruin their plans for him, it'll ruin the bright future they have planned for her as well.
The cast is excellent and is a large part of what makes The Adjustment Bureau work. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt project a believable chemistry of two people who from the first moment know they were always meant to be together. John Slattery (best known from TV's Mad Men) is perfect as Richardson, the officious leader of the team of agents managing Norris' life. Terrence Stamp is marvelous as always as Thompson, the hard-nosed trouble shooter nicknamed "The Hammer" who is brought in when things really go awry. But it is Anthony Mackie who gives the movie a lot of its heart as Harry, the low-key agent with doubts about the plan. Mackie never raises his voice, never lets Harry's feelings show on his face, but conveys everything with his subtly expressive eyes.
There are also a host of cameos of public figures from the political and media arenas, meant I suppose to make things more realistic, but in truth they're incidental, particularly in a film like this where a good deal of suspension of disbelief is necessary. Still, some people will have fun seeing how many they can spot. I counted at least eight.
As enjoyable as The Adjustment Bureau is, it does require certain periodic suspensions of disbelief which I cannot dwell on without revealing certain parts of the plot. And while it does at least toy with questions of free-will vs predestined fate, in the end it is a romance story and does opt for the ending that most easily satisfies. It might have been a deeper, more complex movie if Nolfi had had Norris make a less conventional choice, either choosing to stay with the plan the Men In Hats have laid out for him, giving up love for career, or sacrificing his own chance at happiness so that Elise can have the grand career he knows is awaiting her.
Anyone who has seen Stairway To Heaven will instinctively know how this all turns out. Highly recommended for anyone who loves a good love-conquers-all romance story set in a very different reality from the one we know.
The Adjustment Bureau is a part The Butterfly Effect, a little The Matrix, and one major scene from Men In Black. In this amalgamation, Matt Damon plays politician David Norris who has just suffered a crushing defeat as a result of his impetuousness. While planning his concession speech in a bathroom, he has a star-crossed meeting with a ballerina named Elise (Emily Blunt). The resulting affair uncovers what is presumed to be the Adjustment Bureau, a team of caretaker angels who control the timeline of humanity's decisions so what is supposed to occur actually takes place.
Damon and Blunt make a good protagonist couple. The connection between leads is fairly convincing. It's easy to perceive they were divined for one another. Which is an accomplishment considering the lukewarm vibe exuded the last time he was supposed to be romantically linked to a brunette with a British accent. Supporting actors like the always magnificent Terrance Stamp - who was interestingly enough in the movie Wanted, which shares many similarities with this film - fill out the gray more than adequately. A few pseudo-celebrities and politicians show up as themselves. They could have been left out.
The major failings of this film revolve around the brief explanation of the caretakers, their abilities and responsibilities, and why David and Elise are doomed to failure with one another. Especially since the plan is apparently changeable. Not to mention why one of the caretakers would ever help David be with Elise. Way too many missing plot pieces.
Action is minimal, but there is a classic running sequence that would make Tom Cruise jealous. In fact, intensity is lacking as well; the second act just takes way too long to get to the meat of the story.
Decent Matt Damon vehicle about overcoming odds, changing destiny, and finding true love, but it's probably not a must see.
on November 19, 2011
Not surprised to see negative reviews but that means the movie is not for everyone. I like movies with a meaning. If you do too, then don't miss this one. Some reviews referred it to Matrix, well this is a Matrix movie, only unfortunately when people watched the Bourne trilogy the Matrix, they were attracted more by it's drama, tense, fighting and visual effects. Not too much like that in the Adjustment Bureau. BUT, in the sense of meaning, a beautiful woman who's born to be the soul-mate of any intelligent/remarkable guy, this movie is outstanding. It's sharing the same 'truth' of the Matrix, explaining that our mind has always been imprisoned and our freewill never will get us what we could have had. We were born to believe what THEY want us to believe, adjusted if you dare for anything more. Ever had the impulse that you had to do something no matter what, but suddenly some accident hit you? Ever wondered when you are desperate and was asked: are you OK? Do you ever have the chance to say: No, actually I'm not OK. I did that once and the person who tried to show some concern simply froze with a wide open mouth. You are a performer wearing masks to say and do what you are supposed to, who cares about what you really wanted? You do multiple-choices as if you have freewill, but pretty often none of the choices reflect your liking. As a woman you are supposed to please your guy and even sleep with guys you don't like. As a man you have to kiss asses and keep your mouth shut, qualities more important than any of your glorious credentials. On the surface, it's a peaceful world in perfect order around you, deep in the heart you might felt you are always being watched. Why do we go to sleep 1/3 our time here on earth? You never knew where your soul had been in the darkness: adjusted? Remixed? or Replaced? Ever wanted a soul mate who will understand you totally unconditionally like you can give up the entire world just to have her? Do I need to go on? A 5 star movie.
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 opinon 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.
on July 8, 2014
I truly enjoyed this film, more than once. There is an interesting philosophical question being raised here, one I think we all wonder about. Is our fate of our own choosing? If so our choices may damn us or save us. But if some other force controls our thoughts, our interactions-for puposes we aren't even aware of, then our entire lives may not be of our own choosing - and the results, good or bad, have little to do with us. Is our fate in our stars or in our selves?
This movie is a bit contrived in it's handling of an issue that we must all wonder about but it's quite involving, intelligent, and leaves you with something to think about.
Matt Damon is, as usual, marvelous. He's real. You believe in this guy. I honestly forgot about Matt Damon and felt immensely for the the character, David, that he was playing. What more can you ask of an actor. Ellise,his counterpart, is adorable, loveable and true to the story. It really is worth seeing and recommending to friends.
on July 21, 2011
The Adjustment Bureau was a clever and new movie. Not a remake or stolen vision as so many movies today are. The plot was great so was the acting and special fx. This movie started out with an intensity that kept on building right until the final scene. Matt Damon was convincing (as always)as the lead character trying to live his life by his own plans. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone interested in seeing a great film. I'm not one of those people who begrudge a movie because it is not "enough like the book". Movie adaptations of books are the director's and screenplay writer's interpretation of the books not verbatim visual copies. This was a terrific movie and will keep you on the edge of your seat for the duration.
on August 4, 2011
The Adjustment Bureau (Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller)
Directed by George Nolfi
Starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and Anthony Mackie
Universal Studios | 2011 | 106 min | Rated PG-13 | Released Jun 21, 2011
Video codec: VC-1
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: DTS 5.1
Spanish: DTS 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Digital copy (on disc)
The Film 4/5
I almost went to see The Adjustment Bureau at the theater, but generally negative reviews made me decide to wait for the Blu-ray release. The same was true of Clint Eastwood's Hereafter, also starring Matt Damon. I'm going to have to trust my instincts more because I found both movies entertaining.
So why the negative reviews?
What do you expect from a Matt Damon movie? His biggest role was as Jason Bourne in the hugely successful trilogy and I think he's expected to be an action hero in every role he plays. That's simply not the case. The man can act and he has a lot more to offer than some give him credit for. The marketing for The Adjustment Bureau is selling it as an action movie, but it's actually a love story with a science fiction element. The front cover shows Damon and Blunt running. They do run in the movie, but that's not the point of the story.
This is not an action movie.
David Norris (Damon) is running for Senate and he's losing. He meets Elise (Blunt) in a bathroom and they kiss. A brief conversation influences his concession speech and he decides to be completely honest with the assembled crowd. This is not typical behavior for a politician. The entire meeting was arranged without his knowledge just for the purpose of influencing his speech.
We are introduced to four men in suits and hats. They look like the Men in Black. What is their origin and why and how are they trying to influence events? One has an assignment to delay Norris by making him spill coffee on his shirt, but he fails to intervene in time. As a result, Norris walks into his office and sees the men altering the memories of his colleagues. He runs, but is quickly caught. They make him promise to keep their secret. They also demand that he drops any interest in Elise as the two aren't supposed to be together.
Norris isn't ready to give up on Elise and feels strongly attracted to her. He searches for years and eventually tracks her down. The Adjustment Bureau fails to anticipate his resourcefulness and level of determination. In order to prevent the relationship, other methods are tried to tear the two apart. Norris is given some strong reasons to walk away from Elise. Will they be enough, or will his attraction toward her prove to be too strong?
Philip K. Dick wrote the short story on which the movie is based. He was also responsible for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which resulted in Blade Runner being made. I'm not saying that the Adjustment Bureau is on the same level, but it's certainly a thought-provoking story worthy of your time.
Think about fate and predestination for a moment. Do you live your life thinking that every step has been mapped out? If that were the case, why bother to do anything? Do you think that your overall destination has been decided, but it's up to you how you get there? That would at least give your actions some meaning. Or do you think that everything is random and there's no reason or purpose behind anything we do? The Adjustment Bureau raises similar questions. You might be able to predict how the movie ends, but the fun is experiencing the journey.
Emily Blunt has good chemistry with Damon and the casting was spot on. She had to learn how to look like a ballet dancer for the part and she was utterly convincing in the role.
I love the Bourne movies, but I'm a fan of Damon's acting in general. It dates back to Good Will Hunting and Rounders. In fact, I've rarely seen Damon disappoint. Hereafter and The Adjustment Bureau will stay in my collection and I'm happy to own them. If you give The Adjustment Bureau a try without expecting an action movie, you might end up enjoying it as much as I did.
Video Quality 4/5
While most recent releases use the MPEG-4 AVC codec, The Adjustment Bureau uses VC-1. The result isn't bad, but I've seen more striking presentations. Grain is moderately thick and detail is average. Many of the scenes have an intentional blue tint, but colors are otherwise accurate. I wouldn't complain about the picture quality, but it's far from exceptional.
Audio Quality 4/5
The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix does a good job for the most part. Dialogue is clear, apart from in noisy settings when it's not supposed to be. When Norris is talking to the crowds of people, the atmosphere seems realistic and sounds are separated well. There are no gunshots or explosions, but the sound quality is good throughout.
Special Features 2.5/5
Audio Commentary by Writer/Director George Nolfi.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (6:54)
Labyrinth of Doors - A Google Map allowing you to explore various parts of New York. Each door offers a small feature; normally under a minute long. It's a lot of work to navigate through everything and the reward doesn't seem worth it.
Leaping Through New York (7:36) - Showing the wide range of locations used during the shoot.
Destined to Be (4:51) - Damon and Blunt talk about the casting process and their characters.
Becoming Elise (7:08) - How Blunt learned how to become a dancer for the role. Acting can be hard!
The Adjustment Bureau asks some interesting questions. It's well-acted and kept my interest for the 106-minute duration. The mystery element and slow exposition have the effect of placing the viewer in the same situation as David Norris, and it works effectively. If you go in with the right expectations (not anticipating explosions and constant action), the story has a lot to offer.
Overall score 4/5