Review: The Adjustment Bureau
by, 03-09-2011 at 02:00 PM (1634 Views)
Two years ago, writer, director Richard Kelly brought The Box to the big screen. The film starred James Marsden and Cameron Diaz in a film that evoked the Twilight Zone episodes of years past. The film was a failure at the box office and with critics and the ending was something that most individuals had issue reconciling.
This week, The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily blunt comes to theatres. Based on the story of the same name by Phillip K. Dick, the movie brings into question whether we control our own destiny or are unforeseen individuals manipulating us like chess pieces as part of a bigger plan.
Damon plays young politician David Norris. David is a superstar on the brink of winning a set in the U.S. Senate when a small scandal scuttles his chances. It’s during this short fall that David meets free spirited Elise Sellas (Blunt). The two immediately have a ‘moment’ of passion and excitement, but as quickly as they connect, they are torn apart.
David is unwilling to let his mind rest from their quick encounter with passion and a by-chance run in allows them again to respark earlier flames. But that is when David comes to meet the Adjustment Bureau – a group of well dressed men who are responsible for keeping humans on a particular path with their proposed destiny as suggested by The Chairman, an unseen figure that suggests a God-like overseer of events.
David is threatened by the Adjustment Bureau and told in no uncertain terms that if he is to speak of their existence, then he would be easily and swiftly lobotomized. Now there’s incentive to keep your mouth shut if I ever heard it.
David remains defiant and continues a relationship with Elise to the chagrin of the Bureau and before long (if a few years later is ‘before long’), they are on the run in an attempt to outrun their fate and confront the Chairman with their undying love.
There is much in The Adjustment Bureau to appreciate. The chemistry between the two leads is sparkling and dynamic and is at the root of the films core. And the fast paced editing and framing of the city backdrop is also on fine display. But the convoluted and sometimes confusing and religiously overtoned plot greases things up to an unsatisfying conclusion atop a New York City high rise. Our screening had audience members laughing at scenes not intended humorous and the whole chase scene through doors used as portals wasn’t as exciting as it was confusing and manic.
This is director George Nolfi’s first foray behind the camera and he could have picked a better script vehicle for his maiden venture. Dick’s story is likely one (we have not read it) that plays better on the written page than it does even with a group of competent actors that also included Terence Stamp and Mad Men’s John Slattery.
This didn’t make The Adjustment Bureau a bad movie, but it made it an unimportant one. A blip on the Phillip K. Dick filmography alongside Payback and Knowing. The Adjustment Bureau will be forgotten before you have the chance to tell others, and it didn’t need a bunch of men in hats lobotomizing you to come to that conclusion. And for that, it might as well be called The Box 2011.