Thursday, March 10, 2011

Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau

Guarding all the doors, holding all the keys.

The Adjustment Bureau is the perfect late Winter film, one that will make back its budget for its studio but would be crushed if it was released just two months later, amidst the avalanche of expensive CGI-fests we can expect each Summer.

I'm a sucker for great movie trailers, and The Adjustment Bureau had me with a smartly edited collage set to some of my favorite music, the theme from Danny Boyle's Sunshine. Walking into the theater, however, I knew that this Matt Damon vehicle would possess nowhere near the momentum of that unstoppable space station. Usual writer George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum) tries his hand at directing for the first time here, adapting a Philip K. Dick short story. He does an admirable job, using modern special effects craftily and manipulating our view as handily as the film's namesake organization of fedoraed agents. The script, and a weak ending, are the problem here.

Damon plays David Norris, a New York politician in the running for United States Senate. The mysterious Adjustment Bureau have been manipulating his life from the beginning, and when some of their agents near David err, they are revealed to him. He is told the truth: that the Bureau controls the world from behind the scenes. He also learns that he is destined to become President. But to have a successful career he must give up Elise (Emily Blunt, The Wolfman), a woman he has recently fallen in love with. David decides to defy his destiny, and the Bureau's Plan, to be with Elise.

Visually interesting (the Bureau's main trick consists of walking through random Manhattan doorways that teleport them long distances around the city in an instant) and featuring an attractive cast, The Adjustment Bureau simply gives up on answering any tough questions, or making any accusations against anyone or anything, worldly or otherworldly. This one won't stick around for very long. But don't worry; louder movies are on the way.

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