Review: The Adjustment Bureau

Thursday, 10 March 2011

From the film's official website:
Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? Matt Damon stars in the thriller The Adjustment Bureau as a man who glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue the only woman he's ever loved across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York.
David (Matt Damon) and Elise (Emily Blunt) look at the notebook that chronicles their fate.
WARNING: Possible spoilers...

Magic trilbies, special doorways, mysterious maps and of course... a whole lot of running. Focused on the romance between David and Elise, The Adjustment Bureau was a lot different than I expected. I half-expected an Inception-like tone that occasionally got distracted by a sex scene but the film was much more of a story about fate. It's just that fate was run by a host of bureaucrats in nice suits.

The beginning of the film followed David Norris and his journey to become Senater of New York.When it is clear he has lost the election he meets Elise in a bathroom in a chance meeting that is a delightful cliché of "love at first sight". I'm not a lover of silly clichés in films but Damon's troubled congressman and Blunt's quirky and ever so odd dancer are such an original couple that I can look over it. Three months later they meet again on a bus, an incident that shouldn't have happened if fate has been adjusted accordingly to fit "The Plan". When Norris accidentally witnesses the Adjustment Bureau doing their work they capture him, destroy Elise's number and threaten him with a reset (basically a lobotomy) if he tells anyone about them.

The Bureau capture and threaten Norris.
It is not until a year later that they meet again after Norris fights the will of the Bureau in order to see her. In spite of all the obstructions they throw at him they meet again. Loving looks, sexy time, etcetera etcetera... This is when the Bureau bring in the big gun, Mr Thompson. A creepy man who nearly ruins Elise's dancing career by making her fall during a rehearsal in order to make Norris stay away.

The climax of the film is of course a final run to get the girl. Using the bureau's magic doorways, Norris crashes Elise's (reluctant) wedding and they make a run for the Chairman's office for er... a reason that's a little unclear.

My inner sci-fi fan has to calm herself a little when enjoying this film because it is far more focused upon romance and fate than the inner workings of the Adjustment Bureau itself.With such a complex concept at the heart of the film (the company that controls fate) I wanted a little more from the plot and especially the ending to explain the story. Harry, the rogue man from the bureau who helps Norris was a brilliant character but it was never fully explained why he changed sides. Also, when so much has been built up about the "Chairman" (with some not-very-subtle allusions to him being "God") it is a bit of a downer when we never meet him the ending is a confused happily ever after.

I expected a little more thriller and a little less romance. Unlike my boyfriend I didn't want them to get reset for the finale, but I did want a few more loose ends tied up.

David Norris meets supporters during his campaign.


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