Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

Put on your fancy hat look out for the G-men, we're reviewing The Adjustment Bureau!
Hmmm, I like the idea and the sketch, not sure about the shading though.

Going into this, I didn't have high hopes. I'm getting pretty tired of the whole concept of "fate" and the plot of a character fighting against his fate only to prove it coming true. But honestly, I really dug The Adjustment Bureau. They had some interesting takes on the idea, the mood was fun and lighthearted, the dialogue was funny, and it had some nice door jumping sequences.

David Norris(Matt Damon) is an up and coming politician who's just lost an election. But meeting a crazy young woman, Elise(Emily Blunt) gives him the energy to give a great losing speech(It actually is a great speech, were he a real politician I would vote for him) and get back on the political wagon. He meets her again on the bus and begins to fall for her, when a group of men in suits (lead by John Slattery from Madmen) whisk him away to a secret room and explain he was only supposed to meet her once. They're falling in love isn't "part of the plan" you see. But David has feelings for her and some secret organization isn't about to stop him from seeing her! Over the course of the rest of the movie, David tries to get back with Elise while the men in suits try to stop him.

If you're tired of movies with fate like I am, I'll let you know you don't have to worry too much. They do find some interesting ways around it, which I'll discuss below, and it all seems pretty believable. For one thing, they don't fall into the same love story cliches of other rom coms. The "He's a straight arrow and she's a free spirit" trope? He has a wild side, he's actually known for partying too hard back in his frat days. The "oh they just met, but they fall madly in love" trope? The movie actually takes place over the course of 3-4 years, which I was delightfully surprised at, giving their romance time to blossom, and giving him some time to actually listen to the Bureau a couple of times. Why is he so fixated on her and why can't he just pick another girl? They explain that, which I'll discuss below, but if you don't want to be spoiled I'd suggest you just go check it out for yourself.

The writing and dialogue is a ton of fun to watch. Damon and Blunt have some great conversations together that actually feel like real chemistry, and hearing Slattery offhandedly talk about keeping the world together as if it was some boring desk job is entertaining and comical.

As you've no doubt seen in the previews, they can travel crazy distances through any door. They have a few fun sequences and it's done well, but mostly it's reminiscent of "Tom Cruise running" where I'd like to see "Jason Bourne beating the crap out of people", or even some Inception style acrobatics. And if you're wondering, no it's nothing compared to the door chase in Monsters Inc.

The style is cool, the dialogue is funny, pacing is nice, and it's got some great action sequences. It's not the best or most original movie, but it's a fun movie worth seeing nonetheless and I could easily watch it two more times. Recommended for a fun jaunt out.

So yes, you should go see it. And if you don't want to be spoiled, you can stop reading now. For everyone who's already seen it, or who isn't going to see it and doesn't care about it getting ruined, I'm going to discuss the idea of fate it has.

SPOILER WARNING: Discussing Fate

So basically, David's fighting against the plan because it's all part of the plan. Wha? Let me explain.

See, they all talk about, "The Plan" written by "The Chairman", but it's not one set plan, it's an ever changing plan. That's why they have the adjustment Bureau, to do little changes to make sure everything stays within the plan. So why is he so transfixed on this one girl? Because in an earlier plan(or several), they were supposed to be together. They were basically made for each other. But then the plan changed, so even though it's a new plan, they still feel like they're part of the old plan. Interesting, right? It sort of goes back to that notion that we're predisposed to like people because of something in our genes or childhood.

And being that it has a longer timeline, David actually listens to the guys upstairs and lets her go the first time they interact with him. Then when they get back together(after 3 years) and he leaves again because he doesn't want to mess up her future. The only reason he keeps coming back is because he feels it's right to be with her from some messed u part of a former plan. I find this more realistic than just meeting her, instantly falling in love with her, and then fighting at every turn for her.

Of course the one problem I have is that no one really tells him this is why he likes her, so he doesn't have any time to rebel against his own feelings that were possibly instigated by the Bureau itself at an earlier date, which I would have liked. It would have changed the movie into an existential crisis that questioned why you do the things you do and if you really have free will. But by itself, it still has some interesting ideas and is worth a viewing.


  1. Monsters Inc was the SHIT, and it would take A LOT to trump that door scene.

    I REALLY like this review. I wanted to see this movie, then changed my mind when people who saw it compared it to a love story rather than a suspense thriller.

    However, put in the context of fate vs. predispositions vs. free will...Well, that's a whole other animal and I'd give it a go! I happen to have a soft spot in my heart for Matt Damon, and I'd give him another shot even though I sat through that crappy "Hereafter" movie last year. It's ok, Matt, we all make mistakes.

    What a great concept...We keep going back to the same people who are no longer part of our new plan because they were part of an earlier That's gonna blow my mind the rest of the day! (Well, I'm also running on 30 minutes of sleep, but still...) I dig that concept!

    And I dig this review!!

  2. Thanks! Glad you like it! Yeah it's a cool concept. I feel that way all the time lol!

    I'm glad I didn't waste time on hereafter then. Was there at least a cool twist at the end? Like everyone is dead? I like Matt Damon too. He's cool and can beat people up.

    Yeah you should definitely get more sleep!

  3. It was uncomfortable watching Matt Damon throughout that entire movie. (Hereafter) The story had potential but it was weak, and at the end it was a "WTF?!?! Really?" cliche. I paid for a full movie ticket to go see it, too. Balls.

    I probably won't get to the Adjustment Bureau till next week. I was tempted to go tonight, but I'm too tired and I don't want to fall asleep in the theater. It's happened. =(

    These reviews are great!

  4. Oh man boo on that ending. And thanks! It lets me practice my mad writing skillz. Now if only they were good enough for someone to pay me!