Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau
Prinz Lee wrote this review 5 years and 4 months ago
Ladies and gentleman, this film was thrown at me completely out of left field. So I receive an email on Friday (Jan. 28th) from one of the publicists I work with asking if there was any interest in ‘THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU,’ and if there was, Monday (Jan. 31st) there’d be a Press Junket Screening being held at UNIVERSAL’s screening room at the ever so famous 666 building on 5th. Avenue. For those unfamiliar with this building, many superstitious people tend to stay away from it considering its number and among many films having been edited there, adding “insult to the building’s injury,” coincidently one of those films being ‘THE EXORCIST’—how do you like them demonic apples? Years of bad press and interesting stories, without a doubt I wanted to have my share of experiences with the building, therefore, accepting the assignment!
Truth be told, it was a pretty cool screening as I mingled with other writers, as well as studio Executives who talked about piecing the film together, and then made us fill out a survey.
‘THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU’ is a complex film which depicts the utilization of ones’ free will in order to defy fate. It’s simple: If you knew what your future would be like, would you risk the chance of having it turn out the way it’s [meant to be] simply because you’re drawn to someone who clearly defines an unknown direction—perhaps one that would possibly entail an unhappy ending?
Think about it…
The story of ‘THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU’ is one which follows Red Hook, Brooklyn native David Norris (Damon). An impulsive man with a troubled background, yet ambitious enough to have beaten the odds of life, and on the brink of winning a seat, representing the state of NY in the U.S. Senate. Amidst a bumpy political road which caused some downers, he meets a gorgeous contemporary ballet dancer, Elise Sellas (Blunt)—a woman like none he's ever known. But just as he realizes he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David then learns he is up against Agents of Fate aka The Adjustment Bureau—who will do everything in their supernatural power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path... or risk everything to defy fate and be with her.
It’s a pleasure to have seen Matt Damon and Emily Blunt take on these roles, because truth is I’m not sure of any other male/female duo that would have pulled this dragging film. ‘THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU’ didn’t suck, but it wasn’t the best either. I found myself enjoying a lot of what the story was presenting—much of it pays homage to a God-like approach when mentions of “The Chairman” having laid out a plan for everyone and making sure his agents of fate, or “Guardian Angels,” make sure everyone’s fate goes according to plan. Seeing as I’m not much of a God type, it was a bit much considering how lots in the film relates to what all these Jesus-Freak Republicans tend to talk about, but I’m one who can suspend belief for a bit and play along. So, much to the film’s credit, this Sci-Fi premise was quite enjoyable. It was interesting following Matt Damon’s masked misery throughout the film as he’s forced into decisions for purposes of protecting his future, but much of the yapping could have been shortened and cutting straight to the point—his stubborn will to be with Emily Blunt who pretty much carried the opposite end of the film’s story-line.
The story also has many complexities and most of it is presented when these agents start to display a book which resembles all these interconnected life-lines, taking it form one destination to another. These books represent day to day to life, and if one tends to miss out on much of the dialog, it will be easy to get lost. A lot of the writing is pretty interesting to hear as all actors spew them out. There’s an awesome monologue expressed by Terence Stamp (who plays Thompson) when notifying Matt Damon why it is they (The Chairman and Co.) took over the world. He goes on to explain how we (Mankind) were granted free will in order to live life, but we abused our power, turned on each other as well as the planet as a whole. He breaks down historical events and makes clear how we can no longer be left to live a life of will, therefore, all purposely given a destiny.
So I urge you to pay attention!
It was an interesting angle to play as one can only wonder what life will be for each and every single one of us. I, for one, believe we pretty much dictate our destinies, however, if there was this fictional comic-book world where we can learn of our future—fuck yeah I’d want to manipulate things that I felt didn’t seem much to my liking.
Linking these supernatural speeches, were the cool scenes which cut the actors moving form one location to another once in that other world. Doors symbolized unknown locations which depicted a test of curiosity. Never knowing what the other side would bring, leaping from one end of NYC to another was awesome. Scenery between Wall Street, to Yankee Stadium, to The Statue of Liberty seemed to bring forth the illusion of ones’ will to take matters into their own hands no matter where it led.
As ‘Chance’ would have it—representing free will—the intertwining stories between Matt Damon’s and Emily Blunt’s characters is what pretty much layered this film with any intrigue. The agents were pretty cool to follow as well, but after a while it became apparent to me—and maybe the audience—that they were getting a little too “cultish,” therefore, allowing Damon and Blunt some individuality within the third (3rd) act of the film.
Overall, there were elements to this film I found of interest, but much of it is a lot of dragging to get form one moment to another. The score was kind of out of place seeing as I found the score for trailer a lot more appealing, and there’s always that predictable moment in the story where one can pick up there’s always a member of the opposite team (Anthony Mackie) who feels for the protagonist(s), and lends a hand to enhance their objectives. End result—I didn’t love it, nor did I hate—fair to lend this film your time if you wish. I’m sure if one focuses, there’s a lot that will play in your mind and have you look over everyone you’ve encountered in life and in what way they’ve influenced or manipulated your life to a degree.
** For added pleasure… Emily Blunt is a classy, gorgeous, vibrant woman to look at and those hypnotic eyes as they gaze over Matt Damon, but making it feel like she’s looking at you, elevates her character even more! **