The Adjustment Bureau – A Review by Film Nerd

Director:  George Nolfi

Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Terence Stamp, John Slattery, Anthony Mackie, Jon Stewart, Michael Kelly

Synopsis: David Norris is a young political contender with a bright future.   He has a chance meeting with ballet dancer Elise, a woman whom he becomes infatuated with and thinks he will never meet again until another chance encounter on a bus.   At this point however, the Adjustment Bureau, otherwise akin to agents of fate step in.   This romance is not according to “the plan”, and if they end up together, both their futures may not be quite as bright.   Based on a novel by Philip K. Dick.

Perhaps this review is a little late, but the film was part of a double that Bride of Film Nerd and I saw with The Change-Up.   In addition, this was one film I earmarked in my Upcoming Genre films of 2011.   In the end, I have to say that it is better that I saw it on the big screen late rather than never at all.

To pinpoint an exact genre for this film is difficult.   It is science fiction, true, but I would also say that it is somewhat of an existential thriller.   It is certainly a very intelligent piece of fiction, something hardly surprising for a film based on a Philip K. Dick short story.   Though this film was certainly billed as an action or a chase film, these elements only come about in the final reels.   The majority of the film questions the role of fate in our lives, and there are some very big ideas that are examined here.   I also like the fact that romance that underpins the drama is given a reasonable explanation, without which the actions of our leads would seem rash and pointless.\

Clearly, a stellar cast has been assembled here.   A few features on this film prior to its release tagged the film as Bourne with a Trilby hat.   Once again, unfair focus is paid to what only features at the end of the film.   Damon himself puts in a measured performance, of a man who has mad mistakes, whose past is filled with tragedy, and yet, perhaps because of this history, is a man of great ambition.   He dominates this film, and remains genuinely likeable throughout.   Blunt is a convincingly mysterious and alluring character to start, and does display a wide emotional range, especially when forced to make some tough decisions early on.   Slattery fits into his Adjustment Bureau agent role fittingly well, treading similar (though less boozy and lecherous) ground to his Mad Men persona, and Stamp as a senior agent of fate creates a convincingly authoritarian character as only he can really do.   So really, solid, convincing performances all the way around.

I perhaps would have kept this film at a rating of three, but the final resolution does elevate it beyond such a mid range score.   Do not go in expecting an action filled romp, but go in and enjoy the road, listen to what is said, and allow yourself to be entertained.   This is definitely a film worthy of attention.

4 stars out of 5.

The Adjustment Bureau on IMDB

The Adjustment Bureau on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]

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  1. Pingback: Upcoming Genre Films for 2011 Part Deux – A Preview by Film Nerd | Revenge of the Film Nerds

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