Jim Bertel Reviews ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ Starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt
Congressman David Norris (Matt Damon) who’s running for the New York State Senate meets a quirky young woman (Emily Blunt) and instantly falls in love. Unfortunately for them The Adjustment Bureau—the custodians of fate—try to ensure the two never find each other and live a happy life with rainbows and kittens.
My take on it:
I must admit that I never read the short story “The Adjustment Team” by Philip K. Dick, on which this film is based. So I can’t say with any confidence how this holds up compared to the source material. Now that I got that out of the way we can dive into the film itself.
It was nice to see Matt Damon dip his toes into the waters of a romantic lead for a change. The chemistry between him and Blunt is palpable. They absolutely sold me on their authentic magnetism toward each other. This film could have fallen flat had the two leads not had that kind of chemistry and they really hit it out of the park here. The acting was laudable all around. Terrence Stamp fit the role of Thompson very well. He almost plays the manipulative over-seer too fittingly. John Slattery –who plays bureau member Richardson – looks like he just walked off the set of Mad Men and wandered into this movie. The real standout of the fate-keepers is Anthony Mackie. He is someone to watch out for in the next few years. Every time he gets a role he just nails it and this movie is no exception.
When I first started watching this, the members The Adjustment Bureau were very reminiscent of The Strangers from DARK CITY. I was pleased to see the bureau members came into their own throughout the course of the film but the similarities are too much to ignore. The basic core of this film is the relationship between the two leads with a dash of sci-fi thrown into the mix. The film wrestles with the ideas of fate and free will. These themes might be thought provoking to those of a more spiritual nature but for the rest of us that don’t subscribe to that school of thought, it might not seem all that compelling. The motifs can sometimes come across a bit contrived. I occasionally found myself noticing them sticking out like a sore thumb. However, if you’re willing to let yourself get absorbed into this film I have no doubt that you will enjoy it.
Picture: 1080p 1.85:1. Even with the colors being altered the picture is still top notch. The blueish hues used throughout the film are very. Blue is the theme of the colors here and Nolfi nailed it. That’s not to say it is overpowering though.
Sound: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. This is exactly how a film of this type should sound. The dialogue is crisp and clear while the ambient sounds are very full and rich.
Extras: Commentary – George Nolfi takes us through a pretty standard commentary. It really could have used Matt Damon. Hell, I think every commentary could use Damon so maybe I am just being picky. Deleted and Extended Scenes – Nothing I saw here really added anything to the film. In fact, I think a lot of it took away from it. I really enjoyed Daniel Dae Kim’s work on LOST but his character was simply unnecessary here. Luckily it got cut. Leaping Through New York – This dives into the location of New York and gives the viewer an in-depth look at the chase scene to the courthouse. The Labyrinth of Doors: Interactive Map of New York – This one can be a bit cumbersome to navigate through – interesting but cumbersome. If you have the time and patience it might be worth looking through. Destined To Be – This is a fairly short extra that features Matt Damon and Emily Blunt discussing the love story of the film. Becoming Elise – In this extra we see what Emily Blunt had to go through to fit the role of the ballerina. I found this to be the most interesting extra and I’d say it’s worth a look.
TL;DR – Too Long; Didn’t Read
The themes can be a tad contrived at times but I consider that a minor annoyance rather than a derailment. The story is largely based around the relationship between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt and both actors deliver strong performances and believable on-screen chemistry. That – coupled with a solid cast and very sound acting – and THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU is a smart, well-made thriller that is worth taking a look at.