Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau is a stylish, romantic "what if" movie that doesn't underestimate the importance of good headwear.

I've be trying to get my wife to the new thriller with Matt Damon, The Adjustment Bureau ever since it came out. I was interested anyway, then Breakpoint with Chuck Colson highlighted it as an intelligent movie that can open the door for conversation about God, sovereignty, and free will.

Yes, please!

Matt Damon is strong as David Norris, a young hot shot politician who almost nabs the New York Senate seat. Almost, because a picture of him mooning classmates at a reunion adds to his impulsive reputation and kills the election for him.

As he practices his concession speech in the men's room, he is interrupted by Elise (Emily Blunt), a woman hiding after crashing a wedding at this hotel. There's an instant connection, and after she flees the hotel staff, David throws out his canned talk and gives a candid performance that impresses the voters and pundits again.

He didn't get Elise's name, but he happens to run into her on the bus Monday morning. Coincidence? Well, according to snappily-dressed men in fedoras following David, it wasn't supposed to happen. It wasn't "part of the plan."

These shadowy men kidnap David and reveal themselves as part of the Adjustment Bureau, a group dedicated to making sure things go according to the plan. Misplace your keys lately? Spill coffee on yourself (like me) recently? It may have been an accident - or it may have been the Bureau making slight adjustments to keep things flowing in the right way. David is informed that he can't reveal them, and he should stay away from Elise.

Three years later, and David is still taking the same bus hoping to catch her. He manages a glimpse of her in the crowd, and chases her down. Against the plan. Now David must choose between pursuing a woman that has captivated him like no other, or let destiny play out the way it should.

I'm easy to please in a movie, admittedly. Well, maybe I should amend that. I'm picky about the movies I go to, so if I choose to go to one, I'm usually happy. Still, it is the rare movie that makes me giddy as certain elements come to pass. The Adjustment Bureau is one of those movies.

The plot is good, the suspense continues throughout the whole film, and I never felt sucked out of the world they were bringing. However, this movie shines through the main actors. Matt Damon carries himself believably as a young politician that is caught in the balance of using his youthful drive for his benefit and not letting it stumble his ambition. Emily Blunt is flirty and vulnerable as the contemporary dancer that makes David swoon. The two together have a palpable chemistry, and it is enjoyable to see the sparks on screen. I groaned once in the film, when they kiss after only meeting for a few minutes. Does this really happen? Ever? Without alcohol involved, I mean? Otherwise, the audience is rooting for their romance all along.

Some reviewers were tripped up by the plot device used by the Adjustment Bureau guys to bop around New York City - I enjoyed it though. Properly attired, these guys can travel through doorways and use secret passages to end up all over the city. Terence Stamp has a great voice and gravitas as the heavy brought in to rein in David, and the actor who plays the ultimately compassionate agent portrays a man conflicted.

Breakpoint was right - there aren't a lot of movies that make people face questions about weighty topics like predestination, free will, and who really is in control. And highly entertaining to boot! The Adjustment Bureau manages both of these points, and I am looking forward to seeing it on blu-ray down the road.

Anyone else seen The Adjustment Bureau? Share your thoughts below!

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to see this one! Glad you enjoyed it! I'm also really interested in Source Code, coming out this weekend...