Movie: The Adjustment Bureau
Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt
Writer & Director: George Nolfi
The marketing for The Adjustment Bureau would have you believe that it is a suspenseful SciFi film with a dash of romance. This is very misleading, the movie is more of an old fashioned romance with the SciFi elements acting as nothing more than window dressing. The movie centers around David Moriss (Matt Damon) a politician who has just lost his senatorial bid. He's a bit down, preparing for his concilation speech in the mens room when he meets Elise (Emily Blunt). They have the kind of cutesy, love at first sight meeting that only happens in movies. Why is she in the men's room? Doesn't really matter the point is that now David is smitten. He is rushed off though to give his speech without getting more than her first name and thinks he'll never see her again. And he wouldn't except three years later one of the members of the adjustment bureau makes a mistake and he ends up meeting her again by chance on a bus. This is where the SciFi/Supernatural element comes into play. As the movie tells it the agents of the adjustment bureau are like the hands of fate changing small events in people's lives to make sure that they stay on their life plan. They wear fedoras and overcoats and carry small notepads that show people's predicted life course. When an important event takes place it shows up as small circle on the life path. After the chance encounter with Elise, David stumbles upon the agents of fate in action changing his bosses life plan. He has seen behind the curtain so to speak and they try to persuade him to tell no one about it and above all to forget about seeing Elise ever again.
From there the movie essentially is a chase film with David desperately trying to reunite with Elise while the agents try to foil his plans. The agents led by Richardson (John Slattery) are seemingly supernatural at times but at other times can't stop David from doing the simplest of things. As written and played by Slattery they are not villains so much as bored middle management drones. Which brings us to the pseudo religious aspect of the film when David asks who Richardson works for he replies that they call him "The Chairman but he goes by many names" implying that a higher power is at work. This raises many questions that the movie isn't prepared to answer which makes the film much less interesting.
Another problem is that part of the fun of movie like this is finding out why David's destiny is so important and unraveling the clues as you go along. Unfortunately this doesn't happen in the movie instead the reason is simply revealed to him later in the film and it really isn't a very strong or interesting reason. It's more like an excuse for why he is being kept away from his true love. This leaves the movie relying pretty much solely on the strength of the love story between David and Elise. Now I will say that Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are good together on screen and the writers at least know how to write natural seeming dialogue. The problem is that this is not enough to convince anyone that they have an epic romance for the ages. With nothing else to fall back on the movie feels empty.
When the conclusion is reached and the questions raised are to be answered the movie falls back on old feel good cliches. True love conquers all even the agents of fate and you can achieve anything if you want it bad enough. The bigger questions are glossed over or not addressed at all. This movie could have been much more than it was with just a little more effort. As it is I would recommend to only the most hopeless of romantics.
You can purchase The Adjustment Bureau on DVD or Blu-ray from our store.