Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #156 The Adjustment Bureau

In Uncategorized on March 7, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Movie #156 The Adjustment Bureau

(2011, US, d. George Nolfi)

I have a strange relationship to this movie. I saw the first minute of the trailer and I thought this was going to be a phenomenal movie. Then I see the rest of the trailer and know the film is going to be terrible. And then the reviews start coming in and everyone loves the film. So by now I go with low-key raised expectations but the movie turns out to be average. In conclusion, due to my continually varying notions of the film, I have no idea where to rank it. But I’ll go with the average theory. The film is largely propelled by the chemistry of the two stars, Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, both of whom turn in really stellar performances. Though the film is fantastical at times, it’s their love story that sort of grounds this film into a sense of reality and emotion. However, throw into the mix the Adjustment Bureau, a group of a hundred “beings” that read pages in a moving book and make sure the world is going according to Plan. Just to spice things up a bit, not a single one of these Bureau people doesn’t have their own dry sense of humor. The biggest problem with the film is that it never grounds itself in a tone. I never really knew what to feel at any given point in the movie. It starts off wonderfully (the first ten minutes held me quite well) but like a lot of recent action films, it quickly descends. I was never really impressed, intrigued, or even interested. But more importantly, I couldn’t feel the mood, the emotion, or the tone the movie should have been conveying. Sure, it’s an interesting idea but there are some stories I think that should just stay short stories. Phillip K. Dick has been a popular source for film material as of late but this is an especially hard adaptation. It borders on the ludicrous at times and is forced into large explanations (that deviate from the film in its own right) to justify elements of the film’s existence. But mainly, there was no magic. Directed by one of the writers of The Bourne Ultimatum, The Adjustment Bureau is a unique sort of thrill – one that skips across time randomly, never really manages to grab a hold of its tone, and is always in the middle of wanting to rationalize or just go with it. To be honest, I’d just stick with the Bourne trilogy.


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