MATT DAMON EMILY BLUNT
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU
This marks the third film Oscar winner Matt Damon and writer George Nolfi have collaborated on. While I can’t say it’s the best film they have done together, it certainly is familiar. Nolfi penned the scripts for Oceans Twelve and The Bourne Ultimatum, but takes his first course as director on this suspense thriller. Not exactly science fiction, but certainly not a plausible plot line, The Adjustment Bureau ventures into a dangerous hybrid genre territory with this hyper reality love story about the lengths one man will go to for free will. It’s kind of a The Box meets The Truman Show with Jason Bourne in the driver's seat.
New York senatorial candidate David Norris (Damon) is on the fast track to a popular political future. However, his impulses throughout college and, even now, have lost him the first very public race. He encounters an unlikely spark with a woman (Blunt) in a men’s restroom on the eve of his concession speech, which turns out to be the most inspired public speech of his career. Much later, he meets the beautiful woman again and wants to date her, but is forcefully interrupted by a group of mysterious men known as The Adjustment Bureau, who inform him he cannot be with this woman because it is not in his life’s plan. They go on to explain that if he disobeys, they will do everything in their power to keep him from her.
Very few films can manage the appropriate balance between reality and an element of science fiction, which, in this case is the bureau and its magic books, transporting doorways, and the reality of our world as we know it. Only a handful of films have successfully pulled this off where the fantastic element doesn’t make the reality completely unrealistic. The Adjustment Bureau tries really hard to deliver strong enough emotional performances to keep the unrealistic elements as an afterthought. What it doesn’t do is stray far enough from a character we have seen Damon play time and time again. Why is it that we always see Damon trying to avert someone?
What is good about the film is the beautiful score by Thomas Newman. He understands the right tones that capture the feelings between the two characters. It’s very similar to his award winning score for Road to Perdition, but still appropriate. Blunt is one of the films bright points; she certainly hasn’t done any role similar to this and continues to be one of film's most underrated female actors. Not giving it away, but the ending to the film bothered me; it seemed like a cheap cop-out. The suspense of the film wanes between intense curiosity and boredom. This is not a very deep movie; you see it once and there is no need to go back for more.
Final Thought – its biggest problem is familiarity.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael Woody