“ Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Fantasy / Suitable for 12 years and over / Director: George Nolfi / Actors: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery ... / DVD released 2011-07-04 at Universal Pictures UK / Features of the DVD: PAL „
Film Only Review:
David Norris (Matt Damon) is a young and ambitious Congressman in the United States. Popular enough but not doing so well and looking he may not get a seat he meets a beautiful woman in the toilets whilst rehearsing and they end up flirting and share a fleeting kiss. He feels drawn to her but then shes kicked out of the building for wrong doing and he goes on to give a fabulous speech to a spell bound audience and it looks like he may get that seat after-all!
In the meantime though we suddenly see David being followed by a group of men who appear to be trying to control David and make him follow a path that they want him to by little interventions however someone that is employed to spill him with coffee at a certain time misses the opportunity to do so and David ends up getting on a bus that he wasn't meant to and Elise (the girl from the toilet played by Emily Blunt) is sat there and he gets her phone number after yet more flirting. On time for work because the coffee wasn't spilled on him and he didn't miss the bus he walks into an office to find his friend and employee being examined and looking frozen in a weird situation in the office. David tries to make a run for it but as he does there is an army of people all chasing him trying to capture him to which happens.
He gets told about 'The Adjustment Bureau' and what they do and that he better keep it all secret or his memory gets wiped in a reset operation and that he must never utter a word as to what he's seen and that he is never to see Elise again and her phone number gets burnt in front of him.
3 years later though he still gets on the bus he first really got talking to Elise on and seems unable to forget her until one day he does bump back into her and apologises for losing her number but it was when he got mugged and she believes that. There is an obvious attraction between the pair and they end up becoming close....but David has been warned. No Elise remember!
However The Adjustment Bureau are still hot on his tail and threatening allsorts and making accidents happen around him David seems to using his free will to decide his future and The Adjustment Bureau really don't like that.
Suddenly he finds his every move tracked and forces really do try to keep him and Elise apart but can David be together or with the threats that The Bureau thrown at him make him lose his nerve or will true love and fate prevail?
I really did enjoy this film! Its fast paced and I did have to use a bit of brain power to keep up with the plot. Its not the sort of film I'd natter through with the girls or walk away from it playing and return to be able to pick it up a few minutes later and I did get a little confused between a few of the characters and who they were because the guys in The Bureau wore hats!
I'm not a huge Matt Damon fan to be honest and not overly familiar with his work but his portrayal of David was excellent in my opinion and the chemistry he had with Emily Blunt was wonderful and quite intense. The film showed well how that David had to go with head or heart and all the way through the film, right up until the end I couldn't predict that and what is nice about this film is that as an audience we knew the reasons that The Bureau don't want them to be together early on (I'm not posting spoilers here!)
Yes the story was far fetched about people wanting to control minds to control how a country, world is run and again I got confused with some of it but the ending explained it all anyway and I got that.
There's plenty of action in it, no real gore, a little bit of a steamy scene and a bit of a snog but really,nothing offensive and yup I enjoyed it! Though it isn't a film that I would want to sit and watch time and time again.
The film is rated 12 which I think is right and has a runtime of 101 minutes, again which I think is fine as it doesn't drag it heels at all!
I bought my copy of this from Amazon.co.uk for £1.27 including postage and packing sold as a good condition but used copy (which was perfect by the way!) or you can buy this for £3.00 including postage and packing and that's for a new copy!
This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.
"The Adjustment Bureau" is a 2011 film directed by George Nolfi. I believe the film is loosely based on a book/short story called "The Adjustment Team" by Philip K.Dick, although I have not read this, so you won't find any comparisons within this review.
The DVD that I borrowed contained several bonus features, including a "Deleted & Extended scenes" option, a "Feature Commentary with George Nolfi" and an option called "Leaping Through New York" amongst a few others. I unfortunately didn't have time to watch any of the bonus features, so I cannot comment on whether they were enjoyable or particularly relevant.
You can purchase a new copy of the DVD from www.amazon.co.uk for around £4.40 with free postage, or from www.play.com for £3.09 with free postage. Used copies on Amazon start at around 60 pence, but postage costs apply. (Info correct as @ February 2013).
The film has a 12 Certificate and the feature has an approximate running time of 1 hour 40 minutes.
* THE PLOT *
Congressman David Norris (played by Matt Damon) has recently been unsuccessful in his campaign to run for the senate. Whilst preparing to deliver his public concession speech, he encounters a young woman who has been eavesdropping on him whilst he practices aloud what he is going to say. This young lady, Elise, and David have an immediate spark with each other. The following day, David happens to bump into Elise again and she gives him her phone number for him to call her.
Upon arriving at his office shortly afterwards, David stumbles upon some very strange activity and witnesses a large group of unknown men in strange uniforms, who are seemingly hurting his friend and other colleagues. The men, upon seeing David, are obviously unnerved at his unwanted arrival, chasing him aggressively through the building before finally capturing him. David blacks out and when he wakes up he is somewhere completely different, with the men surrounding him. They explain that they are from The Adjustment Bureau and assure him that they will not hurt him. They deliver some specific instructions to David about what he must do, most of which leave him feeling completely bewildered and confused. They know of his chance encounters with Elise and warn him off from seeing her or contacting her ever again. David must also never disclose what he knows of The Bureau or tell anyone what he has witnessed....
Can David do what is asked of him?........... And will the Bureau know if he doesn't?
* MY OPINION *
I thought the acting in The Adjustment Bureau was really good, and certainly Matt Damon delivered a flawless performance as the main character of David. His love interest, Elise, was played well by Emily Blunt, an actress who I am not particularly familiar with. At first, I felt Elise was a bit 'vanilla' in her character, presumably as a result of Blunt's acting abilities, but I did feel these cynicisms quieten as the film progressed and her character was given a little more depth as the story progressed. I thought too that Matt Damon really suited the role of David, conveying his anguish with apparent ease at times. The chemistry on-screen was very good, and the love scenes between Elise and David seemed genuine and believable, without feeling overly 'hammed up' which I know I would have found irritating. There was really no aspect of the main characters' performances that I felt let the film down at all.
The supporting cast too were excellent, and in particular I thought Anthony D. Mackie, who played Harry, a sympathetic employee of The Bureau who assists David in his on-going struggle, was excellent in his role. Harry offered a little compassion to the character of David when he needed it most, and I felt the actor worked exceptionally well at conveying this on-screen. The rest of the supporting cast worked excellently together, allowing for an enjoyable viewing experience that had a great balance and chemistry within its structures.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this film, as I think I had rather expected it to be slightly mundane with an overly-padded storyline; it certainly doesn't seem to get a particularly good review, although I always try and judge films on my own opinions. I certainly didn't feel that any aspect of the storyline was 'padded out', nor did I feel the film dragging on endlessly, and in fact I was surprised when it ended.
This point brings me to my only criticism of the film - the ending. Whilst not being of the type to leave the viewer with a saccharine-like, sickly-sweet taste in the mouth, there was a certain element of 'schmaltz' to be found at the end of the film. Not a huge turn-off for me, as I rather enjoy a schmaltzy film every now and again, I must confess, but what I found most annoying was the rather abrupt feeling that was felt as the final scenes took place. Whether this was intentional or not is anybody's guess, but I can't say I was overly fond of the ending and felt it was slightly 'convenient' and perhaps wasn't the best path that this part of the film could have taken. This is probably a matter of personal choice, but I just felt that we could have seen a little further development at this point, rather than the film ending where it did and leaving the viewer with a greater sense of suspense than was really necessary at this stage.
This is really the only negative point that I found when watching the film to be fair, and I thought the rest of it was thoroughly enjoyable. I particularly liked the bold New York backdrop that was used to its full advantage in this film. Indeed, I was able to pick out several specific points and landmarks throughout the film from my travels to New York in the past. Also, I thought the director did a fantastic job with 'tying' all of the assorted locations together neatly, by use of stunning visual effects and camera tricks. The assorted locations and, indeed, the amount of too-ing and fro-ing that takes place within this film, all over New York itself could easily have felt overly 'busy', leaving the viewer feeling somewhat swamped, but the apparent skill and expertise employed during the 'travelling' scenes felt quite natural, with a good sense of 'flow' to it that was executed with perfection. This made for a rather thrilling - and visually stunning - end result within some of the 'chase' scenes in the film that was a joy to watch. I particularly liked seeing some of New York's finest landmarks used within these parts of the film to their full majestic glory - most notably, The Statue of Liberty and Yankee Stadium... Just stunning.
It's not at all difficult to note that the director has used New York's breath-taking scenery to its full advantage, with several scenes being shot on the roof of a tall building, allowing the stunning New York landscape to become something of a 'prop.' I thought this was very clever, and when considering all of the assorted locations and landmarks used throughout the film, it's fair to say that the city felt 'woven' into the storyline and plot itself. I'm not entirely sure that the effects would have been the same, or would have had the same impressive impact, had they been filmed in a different city.
The film could be described as a thriller, but I have to confess I wasn't on the edge of my seat as the storyline unfolded on-screen. To be fair, the film captured my interest throughout, and I enjoyed the romantic side of the film as well as the whole idea of The Bureau, finding it offered something unique and different from other films.
In summary, I would really recommend giving The Adjustment Bureau a watch. I felt the acting was really good as the film progressed, and I thought the storyline was quite unusual and different from anything else I've seen recently. I liked too that the city of New York was presented in a new way, with its stunning scenery and beauty coming through in this film in a rather unique way. Overall, I feel the film deserves four stars out of five.
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (DVD)
My personal Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
Life is a series of events. A glance. A moment. All part of a plan.
Davis Norris is a young, aspiring politician aiming for a seat in the U.S. Senate, his whole career ahead of him, when he meets Elise Sellas, an up and coming ballet dancer, and his whole life changes from their brief encounter. Chance leads him to stumble upon a well-kept secret in which strange men in hats (the Adjustment Bureau) steer people through life, changing seemingly meaningless actions to keep them on their chosen path, but when fate intervenes and brings David back to Elise the bureau fight their connection and David has to decide between the girl and his career, his chosen life.
Cast and Characters
Matt Damon / David Norris
Emily Blunt / Elise Sellas
Michael Kelly / Charlie Traynor
Anthony Mackie / Harry Mitchell
John Slattery / Richardson
Special DVD Features
* Deleted and extended scenes
* Leaping through New York
* Destined to Be
* Becoming Elise
* Feature commentary with writer/director George Nolfi
My Personal Opinion
An intelligent film, not totally dissimilar to others such as Butterfly Effect and Vanilla Skies in that not is all as it seems and brings you face to face with the ever niggling question of how or who controls our destiny. A wonderful new conspiracy based theory of a secret organisation changing our lives to keep us on the course which they have chosen for us. It leaves you thinking afterward, which is always a good sign in my book, not only about fate and the like, but also about who these men in hats are - angels, aliens, something else beyond our understanding...???
And all of this cleverness is tied together with a romantic pursuit accompanied by the age old 'will they, won't they' ending with a heart wrenching, dramatic kiss and a happily ever after. Saying that however, it was not as soppy as perhaps I've made it sound and not just a film for girls.
Even Matt Damon, who is not always a favourite of mine, captured the viewer in the storyline and character with a brilliant performance.
The only fault I can pick is with the pace of the film as a whole - at least twice it is hinted that time has passed, one instance being 3 years, where you can be left feeling a little confused because it is done so nonchalantly and nothing seems to have actually changed, but apparently it has. At the other end of the scale, some points seem to drag and you feel like you have been watching the same scene for an age, then it will catch up with itself and all is great again.
Some action, some thriller, some romance, what's not to love?!
Available online at...
£2.10 Amazon Marketplace
£2.99 Sainsbury's Entertainment
£3.00 Tesco Entertainment
(the above prices were correct on 25/10/12 therefore may vary)
I first saw this film when it came out in the cinema and have since bought a copy of DVD. It came out around the time a few other similar-ish films were released and it didn't particularly stand out to me at the time. Having found it in the 2 for £10 deal in HMV, and in need of a second film, I decided to buy it and watch it again.
The film spans several genres and is probably best described as a romantic action thriller. This can mean one of two things: a bit of something for everyone or not enough of one thing to be good. I often think with films of this ilk that they are basically trying to make a date movie, something that will appeal to women but won't totally put off men. They manage to do this pretty successfully and I'm sure this is a film I could watch with my boyfriend and both of us would enjoy it.
The film is loosely based on Philip K. Dick's short story 'Adjustment Team'. I can see why they've changed the name because the 'team' doesn't sound nearly as exciting, scary or official as 'bureau'. From what I know of the original story the film takes the vague concept and then runs with it in a totally different direction.
The film follows the life of Congressman David Norris (Maatt Damon). At the beginning of the film Norris has unsuccessfully run for United States Senate. Whilst preparing for his concession speech he meets a young woman, Elise (Emily Blunt), in the bathroom. Inspired by her spontaneous spirit and candid nature he delivers an honest speech which makes him an over favourite for the 2010 state Senate race.
Over the next few scenes you are introduced to the men from the adjustment bureau. They are ensuring that David is following the course he is meant to and it is apparent that this is the job of this secretive sect. Harry Mitchell is on Norris' case and is told to make sure he spills his coffee by 7:05 am so that he misses his bus. He falls asleep and so Norris jumps on his bus and so meets Elise for the second time. It is clear that for whatever reason the bureau do not want these two meeting again.
There is a bigger cover up though on this particular morning as the earlier bus lands Norris at work just as the bureau are finishing off 'adjusting' his colleagues. He finds them frozen and surrounded by these strange men in suits, his initial instinct is to run. He does this until he realises that these men are inescapable and eventually he is trapped. They transport him to an abandoned warehouse where they explain to him who they are and that he can never see Elise again.
For years Norris rides the same bus every day hoping to find Elise again. Finally he sees her one day and he insists on taking her for coffee. The bureau instinctually know this and do everything they can to separate the two before they can kiss. However, they do not manage this and the path of David and Elise's lives change forever. It becomes clear that the reason they are trying to keep them apart of because it scuppers bot their dreams, for David becoming state senate and for Elise ballet dancing. Eventually the bureau explain this to David and he leaves Elise.
Years later though a friend of David's tells him of Elise's impending nuptials and he is heartbroken. He decides to do everything he can to get her back and enlists the help of bureau worker, Harry. If I go on I'll be revealing the rest of the plot but needless to say there is a great deal of action packed into the remainder of the film.
I have to say I'm not a massive fan of either Matt Damon or Emily Blunt. With Matt Damon I suppose it's because I've never really been interested in any of the films he has been in before. I didn't necessarily have a negative opinion of his but I definitely liked his portrayal of Norris in this film would happily see something with him in again. When it comes to Emily Blunt I guess I've reserved my judgement of her purely because she has stolen and married the love of my life, John Krasinski. That said, I did like her in this film and thought she embodied the carefree character of Elise pretty well - she is also much funnier than I expected her to be.
I paid £5 essentially for this film because I got it in a deal. This is a decent price for a film I've now watched a couple of times and really enjoyed. It's never going to be a favourite film, but it's a bit of a crowd pleaser and I now like the main actors a lot better than I did before.
My only reservation is that because the main relationship is stopped and started so many times there's never really enough progression for you to completely believe in their undying love for one another. This is only a minor flaw, and really didn't spoil my enjoyment that much. The other issue that is kind of created indirectly by this I suppose is that the film does total at around 100 minutes, which is probably 10-15 mins too long as far as I'm concerned. There's a bit of padding in the film so if they had cut some of that out it would definitely be better.
Overall, a decent film for a wide target audience.
I saw this at the cinema when it was first released in March last year. However this week I saw the DVD for £3.00 so decided to buy it and watch again. I remember seeing the trailer before it was released and thinking it looked like a really clever film presenting what to me looked like a completely new original idea. The film is a romantic drama/thriller and is written and directed by George Nolfi.
The film is about a guy called David Norris (Matt Damon) who is a congressman campaigning for US Senate, however isn't too successful. Before a speech David has a chance meeting with Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) who speaks frankly to him and gives him inspiration for a whole new, controversial angle for his speech. The speech, although risky, is received very well.
A few months later he bumps into Elise again by chance on the bus and strikes up a flirtatious conversation with her, ending in her giving him her phone number so they can meet up again. David then heads to work but finds his colleague being scrutinised by strange men in suits who appear to being using gadgets to brainwash the man. David tries to escape but is seized by the men who send him unconscious before taking him to a warehouse.
He is there informed about the 'Adjustment Bureau' which is maintained by a group of immortal men assigned to ensure that people follow by 'the plan' which is a document determined by their chairman which maps out the routes each person must take in life. The men are there to ensure that people do not deviate from the plan, and unfortunately they made a mistake in letting David board the bus where he met Elise, as he was never meant to see her again. They tell him that he must not speak a word of what he has been told about the Bureau or they will find him and wipe his entire memory. And he is also told that he must not see Elise again in order to carry on as the plan originally intended.
The film then follows David's struggle against the Adjustment Bureau in trying to be with Elise.
I really enjoyed this film, mainly because of the unique concept of the world being controlled by secret agents who have a plan for how things should go. The concept was handled really well by the film which got the best out of it. The idea was introduced well from the start and as a viewer I always fully understood what was going on. I had originally assumed that the plot was going to be quite complicated and I wondered if it would be one of those films that is quite hard to follow and requires a lot of concentration. But actually I found it easy to follow. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not, I think when I first watched it I was more in the mood for a film that wasn't too much of a challenge to understand, yet if I had been in the mood for a challenge it may have disappointed. So I guess this depends on what kind of plot you like or what mood you are in when you watch it.
I thought the films choice to bring a love story into the film as the main plot was a wise one. They didn't allow the film to become a romance though and it remained strictly an action/thriller, yet the romance brought an extra level to the film that it needed and made the plight of the characters against the system seem more worthwhile and easier to relate to. I did feel I could imagine being in their shoes, even though the concept of 'the adjustment bureau' is far-fetched and in the leagues of fantasy, everything else in the film was very real and normal, meaning as a viewer I could imagine it being me. This helped the film along as it made me really want the main characters love to survive and for them to overthrow the system, and it was very enjoyable for that reason.
The only thing which I didn't like about the film was towards the end when certain things achieved by the characters were a bit too easy, this made it feel like the filmmakers were taking the easy route too which came across slightly lazy. However it did mean that the plot kept moving at a fast pace and didn't need to dwell on anything too long.
I think it one of those films that is for everyone, obviously young children would struggle with it, but other than that I think almost anyone could enjoy it and there is nothing offensive or too genre-driven within. It is definitely geared towards the general public, rather than specific viewers.
I already like Matt Damon as an actor and really enjoyed his performance in this film. The role wasn't hugely challenging but he played it in a controlled and believable manner. I think he was probably playing his 'safe' character as the personality of this character reminded me of others he has played before, but I don't think this is any reason to critique his performance as I do believe he is a strong actor who could play different roles if a film required him to.
I had heard of Emily Blunt yet don't think I've seen any films with her in before. She was also very believable and didn't over-act, so kept the role realistic. Both characters were easy to relate to as they seemed real, therefore as I said above regarding the plot, you can really imagine their predicament and put yourself in their shoes. The majority of the other characters within the film were the members of the Adjustment Bureau who were intended as very serious, intelligent characters. I thought the actors they chose, none of which I had heard of or seen before, pulled this off well and complimented the film and its intentions.
There were no major special effects involved in this film, but it was very reliant on the setting of the scene which was of quite a grim, grey, wintery New York. The background setting of the film and the way it was edited to appear on the screen really suited the film. I suppose the setting looked quite dystopic, and the film, despite not being entirely depressing, does deal with some quite dark issues so it all worked well.
I really enjoyed this film because it offered a unique idea that I hadn't seen done before, and carried it out well. The acting and effects used in the film were strong and complimented it well, ensuring that justice was done to the concept behind the plot. I have watched the film twice and enjoyed it both times, although it is one of those films that is best the first time round when you don't know the outcome. Don't expect a super challenging plot when you watch it or you may be disappointed. I would definitely recommend giving this one a try and would expect the majority of viewers to enjoy it.
For some reason I watched this at the cinema, thinking it may have been a cross between the Bourne films and some quirky Matrix / fate type thing. Unfortunately, it turned out to be more of a love fest that I became bored by within 10 minutes.
The Adjustment Bureau was written and directed by George Nolfi, who also did writing for Ocean's Twelve and the screenplay for The Bourne Ultimatum. We're introduced to the politician David Norris (played by Matt Damon), who is on the verge on winning a seat in the U.S Senate. Enter Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) a ballerina and a woman like no other he's ever met before. The basic premise of the film is founded on the belief of fate; fate has predetermined each person's roles and outcomes, but Norris is starting to realise that he doesn't want what fate has planned for him.
The rest of the film sees the battle between Norris and some 'mystery men', who seem to be akin to the keepers of fate. They're doing everything they can to keep Norris and Sellas apart, meaning Norris must accept his fate and predetermined outcome and let go of the woman he is starting to (and very quickly) fall in love with. The question is whether he can trick fate and be with his perfect lady, or whether fate is strong enough to tear the two apart.
First off, I had no idea there would be such a love plot running so centrally to the story. This has been my first lesson in ensuring I properly read the synopsis before paying for a cinema ticket! The whole notion of these two falling in love was sickeningly sweet, and the way in which it happened was far too 'romantic' and unbelievable for my liking. In short, I very much disliked this part of the premise.
The other factor was the notion of fate, including the strange mystery men attempting to keep the predetermined path adhered to. I'm not a big believer personally, but a good film should help you suspend your beliefs for a while and believe only in the film. This didn't really happen. I ended up questioning a lot of things throughout and thinking how stupid a lot of it seemed. It just wasn't put across in a realistic enough way to make it gripping or absorbing.
I didn't find either of the key characters, Damon or Blunt, particularly interesting. Blunt came across as the beautiful and enchanting woman that all men should fall in love with, whilst Damon was quickly cast under her spell and did little other than fumble after her. He was okay playing the role of guy-running-for-a-seat at the election, being presentable and well-spoken in his suit, but he seemed to inflexible to pull this role off.
Overall, I don't rate this too highly and wouldn't really recommend it. It's more romantic drama than sci-fi action thriller, leaving very little in terms of believability or watchability for the viewer to cling on to.
Released 2011, running time 101 minutes, Rated Certificate 12
Selling on Amazon for £4.97
Star - Matt Damon
Run-Time - 106 minutes
Genre - Drama
Country - USA
Cert - 12a
......"Most people live life on the path we set for them, too afraid to explore any other. But once in a while people like you come along who knock down all the obstacles we put in your way. People who realize freewill is a gift that you'll never know how to use until you fight for it. I think that's the chairman's real plan. And maybe, one day, we won't write the plan. You Will..........."
So, after the amazing success of Inception, the first intelligent Sci-Fi blockbuster since Close Encounters, doing likewise box-office to match Spielberg's classic, its no surprise the big studios have tried to quickly cash in with some hybrids, 'The Adjustment Bureau' and 'Source Code' the latest two offerings. I have watched the Source Code and enjoyed it and so felt obliged to pay my respects to Inceptions groundbreaking intentions by seeing this one.
The film is loosely based on a short story by the cult writer Phillip K Dick, Bourne Ultimatum and Oceans Twelve screenwriter George Nolfi promoted up at Universal to direct. With the always likeable Matt Damon in the lead alongside the beautiful English actress Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria and The Devils Wears Prada) as the love interest, the ingredients are in place for an interesting (if not that intelligent this time) sci-fi adventure, more than a touch of B-Movie about it, making full use of those Inception style special-effects to entice.
Its Men in Black meets the rather silly Hayden Christianson vehicle 'Push', but not time travelling stuff this time around but more about opening doors to another dimension than moving through one so don't be put off if you are not a science fiction fan. It dabbles with that moment when we put something down and mysteriously lose it, swearing it's gone through a wormhole or something because we never could find it and there's no possibly reason it's gone, right? With quasi religious ideas stirred into some probability, randomness and anti chaos mix it certainly keeps you guessing on what is supposed to be going on.
Matt Damon as David Norris
Emily Blunt as Elise Sellas
Anthony Mackie as Harry Mitchell
John Slattery as Richardson
Anthony Ruivivar as McCrady
Michael Kelly as Charlie Traynor
Terence Stamp as Thompson
Jon Stewart as himself
Its 2006 and handsome New York congressman David Norris (Matt Damon) is running for the Senate, now the front runner after an excellent speech at a fundraiser, that same night chancing on a beautiful ballerina in the rest room, Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), falling for her instantly. But he loses her number, and then the election, some skeletons in his cupboard rattling rather too loudly and won't see her again for seven months, another chance meeting after falling asleep on the tram bringing them back together again.
But that meeting wasn't meant to be, some strange men in hats who call themselves 'The Bureau' abducting Norris and demanding that this relationship with this woman ends, Norris soon realizing that they are no ordinary government employees. He is released from their clutches on two conditions. He never speaks of their secret operation and never contacts or searches for Elise again.
Of course he can't agree to this and soon in search of her, taking the same tram every day in the hope he meets her again, the type of silly romantic things men will do to catch a beautiful woman.
Three years on and he is again running for office, no sign of those G-Men in hats until he meets Elise again. The Bureau kick into action and for some reason they are determined to keep his mind on running for office and not on this woman and so begin to play hardball on his romantic quest, matching his every movie to get him back on track for his apparent destiny. But when one of the men in hats takes sympathy on him the odds are evened up and fete may yet deliver him the girl, but at a cost. But the big man upstairs is deployed to end this love affair once and for all, the mysterious one they call The Chairman' (Terence Stamp) stirred from his desk...
So is it written that Obama would become America's first black president when he did? Many complex algorithm generators whirring away over the last 200 years suggest yes and it wasn't down to chance that the year of 2008 would deliver exactly that, the point where America's conscious was finally ready to apologize for its racist past that has evolved into accepting black people as equals, the cognizant reason why Obama was fast-tracked to the top.
So with that in mind is there scope for a fun action movie here? The idea that everything that happens isn't chance and meant to be appeals greatly to some, a hidden agent plotting our every move a reassuring feeling. God has managed to patch over the chaos for some but for most we accept we are all hurling through the blackness of space and heaven will be just as cold, silent and empty as that very space, the end the end, everything left to chance and probability on how our lives pan out. No supreme being is looking out for us guys. It's nice and somewhat sensible to believe there is something after life and films that entertain that soothing thought engage a large audience, a mix of theology and science fiction always interesting.
After a good start as we try to figure out the guys in hats the Sci-fi aspect becomes a backdrop for a simple love story, the chemistry between Damon and Blunt what really keeps the film on track. But you can't help not liking original filmmaking that tries new ideas and so this will engage throughout. The ending is not as clever as the beginning and more popcorn than you want gets into the nooks and crannies of the script. But the presentation is recovered by the look and feel of the movie and the excellent special-effects never failing to wow, even if they take over proceedings to plaster over the holes, a $127 million gross from a $50 million budget suggesting moderate success in the context of how well blockbusters are supposed to do.
= = = = Special Effects = = = =
* Audio Commentary*
George Nalfi waffles on about his movie, all the time pretending not to have been influenced by Inception. .
*Leaping Through New York*
The city is seen from a different light on screen and refreshing to see, 'the making of' exploring that angle and many other aspects of the movie.
*Destined to Be*
More behind the scenes backslapping from cast & crew...
Our Emily talks about her role.
Quite a few.
USA Today - "This mind-meld of sci-fi thriller, morality play and passionate romance is worth seeing, mostly for the palpable chemistry between the lead actors".
The Guardian - "An appropriately modest presentation of one of the year's most unexpectedly charming movies"
The Baltimore Sun -"Eventually the whole thing feels a little too silly to be able to take any of its inherent concerns meaningfully".
The Daily Express -"in the long list of films translating and transforming the stories of the ubiquitous Philip K. Dick, this falls in the 'Watchable but Disappointing' category"
Imdb.com - 7.1 out of 10.0 (67,714 votes)
Metacritic.com - 60% approval rating
Rottentomatos.com - 72% approval rating
Emily Blunt makes one heck of a damsel in distress. There is just something so likable and relatable about her. You want the male hero to end up saving her whenever she's in trouble. She has vulnerability, but she's not all about the loud screaming and constant whining that slow down our male protagonist. She carries plenty of intelligence and wit, is able to interact with her co-stars convincingly. There is energy in her performance that suggests she is far from a totally helpless lady. But being a working actress in Hollywood, she does have to be rescued a few times whenever she stars in a thriller. And she has that rare but priceless quality of portraying genuinely likable female counterparts. She was one of the best things about "The Wolfman" and it's the same case here.
One of the reasons why "The Adjustment Bureau" works so well is because of Elise (Blunt), whose stunning looks and smart words instantly capture U.S. Congressman David Norris' (Matt Damon) heart. They meet accidentally, whilst David is preparing his concession speech following a crushing defeat in the polls. She encourages him to be honest, and after a brief banter they share a kiss, after which David delivers the finest speech of his political career, catapulting his name to the list of members possible for the race for the Senate. David cannot stop thinking about his miraculous encounter with Elise, and is absolutely stunned to see her on a bus on his way to work some time later. Again, they share a fun moment, and this time David makes sure he gets her number, parting ways afterwards.
So far, so good for the winning couple right? But David soon learns that there are mysterious men in top-hats who seem to be subtly controlling his life. Who are these men? They call themselves the "adjusters." They are given master-plans which dictate how the universe is supposed to be run. And if certain individuals deviate from that plan through minor, very unlikely coincidences or chance, it is their job to nudge the individual back to his/her correct path. And they are supposed to do this in secret of course, so no-one takes notice of their activities. It was destined that David was to meet Elise for that one time before his concession speech. He is headed for great things in the world of American politics, and more encounters with Elise ruins that very plan. He was never supposed to meet her for the second time on the bus either.
How do you tell a man to back away from someone he loves so dearly? Well, as the adjusters are about to find out, they can't. David refuses to listen to these strange, somewhat powerful men who set all sorts of traps and loops so that David and Elise never cross path. The theory of "if you tell someone you can't have something, it makes him want that something even more" is in full effect here. And David's undying affection works due to what Blunt presents as the leading heroine and the warm, engaging chemistry they share. It's never forced, and their playful, light, bouncy conversations are not only well written, but competently spoken by the two lead actors. He's not an all-powerful, indestructible badass hero, and she's not a dim-witted, completely useless girlfriend. She has a voice of her own, and a surprisingly forward personality.
As the two characters complement each other so well, it's no wonder the two of them end up falling in love so quickly. At least their mutual attraction has a good, deep reason and is not all about the superficial attachment that is all about the looks and sex. And because their connection feels so pleasant, original and genuine, you can't help but side for the couple who is constantly faced with twisted challenges that alter their fate. Supposedly they end up being better without one another. But who are these "adjusters" to mess with human emotions and free will? Lots of interesting ethical dilemmas crop up, to which no simple answers arise and because of this "The Adjustment Bureau" also succeeds in presenting a string of thought-provoking scenes. The "adjusters," often referred to as angels as well according to them, are only carrying out their orders and do not specifically know why specific paths were written for all these different individuals. The person who gives the orders called The Chairman, seems to represent God, and with this creates a nice comparison to ideas we are used to.
With exciting developments, good chase scenes, and a moving romantic plot, first-time director George Nolfi has a surprising set of eyes for balancing difficult subjects. And for what it's worth, all the sequences are spread out evenly with enough breaks and natural shift in tone. Small, insignificant changes have a drastic effect on someone's future, and we are reminded of this every minute. Because both sides are so determined to achieve their goals, they are willing to do the more dangerous, the more unthinkable, which is what keep us all on the edge of our seats. Therefore in the midst of all the drama, we are still captivated by what might or might not happen next. The men chasing the couple, complicating everything, are sufficiently menacing enough, especially in the forms of John Slattery and Terence Stamp and the lead couple are lucky to have some sympathetic help from Anthony Mackie. They are all competent in their supporting roles and round up an astonishing cast.
The only let-down in the entire film is the ending. With so many questions raised and possibilities for endings, "The Adjustment Bureau" decides to take the easy way out, and go for the feel-good, albeit not very sensible, ending. It wraps up too quickly, and following an exciting foot-chase, doesn't live up to the rest of the film's high standards. There is a sense of relief, but hardly a sense of any satisfaction. But without the last 5 minutes what a near-perfect romantic thriller this was setting up to be. With difficulties that pile up every single step of their romance blooming, the intensity that builds up even without the use of any fancy, colourful computer graphics remains immensely effective. Using the credible connection between his two stars as its biggest asset, this unique, touching experience as a whole is a worthy one, something that most definitely deserves your time and attention.
When I first saw the poster for this movie, I immediately brushed past it thinking it wasn't a film I would enjoy that much. This is because I saw Matt Damon and I was expecting something very Bourne-esque, but boy was I wrong. I took a closer look at this movie, noticing that Emily Blunt was also in and it had an element of romance to it. I thought, Matt Damon, and romance.. in the same sentence? I had to watch this.
I literally hadn't got a clue what this movie was about when I started watching it, I didn't even read the synopsis and I was quite suprised to find that science-fiction also played a major role in this movie. Normally sci-fi and romance don't gel too well together, I mean, it has been done, but not always successfully. 'The Adjustment Bureau' bonds the two differing genres perfectly, so much so that you probably won't even be aware that you're watching a sci-fi movie. Perhaps we could call this genre sci-fi for girls.
I didn't that Matt Damon would be very good at playing a romantic figure despite being named 'Sexiest Man Alive' by people, because when I look at him, quite frankly I just think guns and action. Again, I was wrong. Damon and Blunt seem to have quite a good on-screen chemistry going on which is essential to any romantic movie.
I'd say that this movie deals with a lot of philosophical questions that mankind have been asking for centuries. This movies deals with the idea of fate, chance and a higher power. Could there be a grand puppet master sitting somewhere with a big book mapping out everyone's lives? Well according to this movie, there is. I think what makes this a successful sci-fi romance is that the plot largely revolves around the idea of lovers fighting fate and striving to be together no matter what. It is a story of true love and never giving up, risking everything to be with the one you love.
I highly recommend this movie because it is not your usual sappy romance; it is highly interesting, a fast-paced movie with lots of action, which for once actually enhances the romance instead of detracting from it.
To be released on DVD and Blu-Ray 4th July 2011. Available from amazon.co.uk for £9.99 (DVD) £15.99 (Blu-Ray)
The Adjustment Bureau is one of life's little disappointments. Promising much, it brushes past some interesting ideas, but ultimately leaves them behind on the shelf. To complete a mixed and muddled metaphor, carries on walking by on the other side.
Indeed, mixed and muddled is a rather apt description of the whole film which sets up an intriguing idea and then fumbles and stumbles its way through its over-extended 106 minute run time.
Plot-wise, it has some superficial similarities with last year's Inception, against which it inevitably compares rather badly. The Adjustment Bureau is a mysterious bureaucratic agency responsible for ensuring that everything happens in life according to The Plan and that any deviations (or "ripples") caused by people doing the wrong thing are either prevented or corrected. One such ripple involves Matt Damon, an ambitious politician who becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman he meets one night and who threatens to distract him from his part in The Plan.
The Adjustment Bureau should be applauded for trying something different. Indeed, it has some interesting ideas about humanity, fate, religion, perspectives on reality and so on. It doesn't try to be as mind-blowing complex as Inception or as self-importantly smug as The Matrix, but it does pose some intriguing questions about Fate vs. Free Will and how easily (and willingly) we can be fooled into accepting something that doesn't exist or dismissing something that does.
Sadly, these ideas are never examined in real depth or with enough conviction. For example, it clearly wants to say something about religion (members of the Bureau are referred to as angels at one point; The Chairman is clearly meant to imply God). Yet, it never quite has the courage to offer anything other than vague hints - presumably for fear of offending audience members who might not like the concept of God as a corporate high flier. If the film had been more daring then sure, it would have been controversial, but it would also be a lot more thought-provoking and interesting. Inception might have been mind-blowingly complex, but at least it had substance. The Adjustment Bureau meets neither criteria.
There are tremendous inconsistencies in the plotting, too. The agents of the Adjustment Bureau have mysterious powers. Or at least, they do when they remember to use them. At times, they can seemingly do anything - spill coffee from a hundred yards away with the flick of a finger; cause a solid paving slab to rise and trip someone up and so on. A few minutes later, though, these powers seem inexplicably to have deserted them and they are reduced to running around trying to stop people the old-fashioned way.
Don't believe the trailer either, which might lead you to believe that this is a fast-paced action thrillers which features our hero and heroine on the run from some unknown enemy, bouncing from place to place and escaping tremendous peril by the skin of their teeth.
The reality is somewhat different. There are elements of action (particularly as it reaches its rather anodyne and cheesy climax), but they are nowhere near as numerous as the trailer suggests. For every minute of chasing around, there is ten more of plot exposition, aimless wandering or meaningful shots of New York skylines. Far from being the action packed thriller the trailer suggests, the actual pace is much more languid and betrays the film's origins as a short story. There simply isn't enough to sustain an interesting, full-length feature film. As a result, the plot runs out of steam well before the end, and even what is there feels over-stretched.
Unfortunately pitching the trailer at one audience and delivering a film for a different one, the audience leads to a mis-match of expectations, so straight away The Adjustment Bureau is on the back foot, trying to win over an audience who have handed over their cash expecting something very different .
The film probably has a far better cast than it deserves. Matt Damon is excellent as David Norris, a man willing to risk everything for a woman, even when he knows the truth (which he accepts all to readily). Damon has already showed in his various film roles that he can do both tough and acting, and he brings elements of both to his role here. Emily Blunt is suitably feisty and fun as the woman who beguiles Norris and it's easy to see why Norris becomes so obsessed by her. There is a genuine sense of chemistry between the pair, and many of the film's better moments arise from their banter when together.
Terrence Stamp is on top bad guy duties as Thomson one of the Bureau's most successful trouble-shooters. This slightly camp character might be a million miles from the malevolence of General Zod, but his still, calm, lizard-like delivery is still pretty chilling, whilst his monotone vocal delivery is perfect for a bureaucrat whose life is governed by rules and what should happen.
Sadly, the world and imagination of Philip K Dick (the author of the original short story) is a very sterile place, which creates a rather emotionless, sterile set of characters too. It's hard to care about any of them or what happens to them. Norris comes across as superficial and dishonest and, whilst this is an important aspect of his character (and the film's rather weak attempt at political satire) he never really transcends this or makes the viewer care for him. The same is true of all the characters - good and bad, which means the viewer remains disconnected from on-screen events.
Here's a genuine example of my total lack of engagement. Normally when I go and watch a film from the opening credits to the end of the film, poor Mrs SWSt does not get an ounce of attention. Partway through The Adjustment Bureau, I suddenly realised she was shivering with cold and gave her my coat as a blanket (such a gentleman!). If the film had been any good, poor Mrs SWSt could have been eaten by polar bears, and I wouldn't have noticed until the lights went up. That's a pretty damning indictment of The Adjustment Bureau.
This film might have made a passable episode of The Twilight Zone. Packed into an hour it could have been tightly plotted, interesting and exciting. At almost twice that length, it is simply too over stretched and the shambling, lethargic pace and deceptive trailer do it no favours.
The Adjustment Bureau
Director: George Nolfi
Running time: approx. 106 minutes
© Copyright SWSt 2011
When I first saw the trailer for this I was extremely intrigued- a 'sci fi' romantic thriller with Matt Damon and upon seeing film posters, which labelled it "Bourne meets Inception", I didn't think I could resist it (LOVED INCEPTION).
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
US Politician David Norris (Matt Damon) is set to become the youngest senator, but a chance meeting with dancer Elise (Emily Blunt) causes his path to diverge, which is detrimental to the Adjustment Bureau, who is in charge of making sure "things go according to plan". Determined to follow his heart and his feelings, he goes against his fate despite being warned that choosing Elise will lead to him lose his political career, and Elise her dancing career. Will love triumph over all?
The premise to this movie is absolutely golden. Two people fall in love, but fate is against them. This dark idea that in choosing love, they lose everything else is movie magic. So what went wrong?
The beginning was somewhat slow and dragged out, though subtle hints were dropped about the existence of The Adjustment Bureau (blending into crowds etc) which in a way I suppose laid some groundwork, but I felt the political aspect was far too long, only to be saved by the entering of Elise (Emily Blunt) who lit up the scene and grabbed my attention.
David was not meant to see Elise ever again, but despite The Adjustment Bureau trying to step in, chance would have it that they would catch the same bus one morning, changing both their fates. When David is approached by The Adjustment Bureau and was told exactly what would happen. He must get back on the right path, written by "The Chairman" and he must not tell anyone of their existence. If he does, he will be "reset" = lobotomized.
Three years later, David bumps into Elise again and he is determined to be with her this time, but the stakes are raised. Some meagre failed interventions (unimpressive taxi crash) to try and break up the relationship lead to David being visited again by The Adjustment Bureau, this time by higher level agent Thompson. I really did not like all the talking as they already set out the groundwork and the terms of his decisions- this repetition is unbearable I want to see some action!!
Another time jump later and the action truly peaks and Inception comes into play. David Norris finally makes his decision (what took him so long) to risk everything to be with Elise and decides to find "The Chairman" and rewrite his fate, grabbing Emily Blunt for the ride. They both run (Bourne) and jump through doors (Inception). Where was this at the beginning?!
I wish they'd cut to the chase a LOT earlier- from the second "chapter" they could've decided to be together against all the odds and start running and trying to find "The Chairman" etc- now there's your story! I know they don't want it to be Bourne but in trying not to be Bourne, they've wasted the true potential of the movie.
Another thing which I feel the movie tries to do too much of is put in religious themes and questions such as fate, free will, God etc which is the driving force behind all of this, but not the focus and by placing so much emphasis on these themes, they compromised the action element.
The Adjustment Bureau has so much power (potentially) as given evidence by the shuddering of the bus, the taxi crash and the foot sprain, but the climax of the movie where they pair are running from them, they seem utterly powerless- NO explosions or obstructions at all- they were just running in a big group = doing nothing. I felt that the movie was far too weak in its action element - they really could've thrown in a high speed car chase or far more supernatural forces as the cutting of phone lines and such was really creepy.
As the movie drew to a close, the resolution of the film was far too easy and really did not require all that effort. From an artistic point of view, yes, it makes it quite a moving resolution in terms of the themes of a loving God and so on, but really not that great for a potential blockbuster!
Matt Damon- David Norris
Emily Blunt- Elise Sellas
Also stars Anthony Mackie, John Slattery and Terence Stamp.
Matt Damon does a good job as a humorous and impulsive politician, but he really isn't 25 anymore- he does not stand out in this unlike Emily Blunt who is purely stunning in the expression of her character- a fun and carefree dancer, which reminds me of Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer. The lines that are given to Blunt are first class and she brings most of the humour into it which definitely lightens up the slightly repetitive talking scenes between Damon and the Bureau.
Masked as a "sci fi action romantic thriller", The Adjustment Bureau is far more of an art house film than meets the eye, at least for the first half of the movie and the themes that are explored, whilst the second half is a half-hearted lack of action anticlimax which in trying to hard not to be Bourne, falls flat.
This movie had immense potential if more focus is put on action and pace, which could easily have been achieved by sending the pair on the run from their second chance encounter (needed more Emily Blunt- she was superb), throwing more supernatural obstructive forces in their way and concluding with a mysterious, non-typical ending which would really make this "Bourne meets Inception".
Side Note: After people saw Inception, every little thing that was paranormal or out of the ordinary, people would say "It's Inception!" but after seeing this, they may just say "It's the Adjustment Bureau!"- admittedly it doesn't quite have the same ring, but it has that same eeriness.