Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau - A Film Review

I'd been looking forward to seeing The Adjustment Bureau for almost a year before I finally got the chance to see it. The film was initially slated for a summer release in 2010 and then pushed back to a late fall release. After that, the film was postponed indefinitely. After some time, it was finally announced for a March 4th release.

Now, I love Emily Blunt. In fact, I'm more inclined to see a film if she's in it. Matt Damon's one of those actors who's really hit and miss with me. Sometimes I love him and other times I can't stand him. But the premise of this film and the idea of his character intrigued me.

I was a little worried to see the film after the delays it received. If your film's been delayed twice, is it worth watching? Thankfully, I had no reason for worry. I went in to the film expecting to see a decent film that plays with the idea of free will and fate. I came out with a film I really enjoyed.

David, a hopeful politician played by Matt Damon, has a chance meeting with Elise, a free spirited impulsive young dancer played by Emily Blunt, in a bathroom after he has lost his current race for Senate. The meeting inspires him to deliver a blunt from the heart styled speech for his concession.

Soon after his concession he is preparing to start work with an old friend and member of his political team. A young man is seen waiting for him in the park across from his apartment, having been given instruction to cause him to spill his coffee by 7:05. After this crucial event is missed, David has a chance meeting with Elise where he learns her name and receives her number.

When he arrives at work, he walks in to a 'recalibration' that is happening on his friend. This is when the Adjustment Bureau reveals themselves to him. They are a network of people who cause small things to happen, adjustments in the master plan of the world and all of our lives. They describe things like spilling coffee, internet going out or even cell phones dropping calls as things that are sometimes chance and sometimes the work of the Bureau.

They tell David he is not supposed to be with Elise and he is never to see her again. After burning the number he received from her, they tell him to leave and never tell anyone of the Bureau or they will erase his memory and, essentially, make him insane.

After three years, chance brings Elise and David together again and the push and pull between the Bureau and David begins as he fights their adjustments to be with the woman he had fallen in love with.

In the over all scope of the film, it calls in to question how much free will we as humans have, what could be predestined, whether we're able to change that and who gets to make these decisions. The movie, while not remaining mysterious in the way it operates, was definitely a fun ride to be on. Although I was able to piece together the story quite easily as the film progressed, I still enjoyed the story immensely.

I felt as though leaving the first chunk of the movie described above out and only revisiting this via flashback or description from characters would have left this film in a much more mysterious thriller sort of genre, I do feel that that wasn't the effect the filmmakers were going for. This was a film that was supposed to make you think. Not about the film itself or what's happening in it, but about the context. About your own choices and whether or not they're being influenced from another plane or not.

If you're expecting a thriller or a mystery out of this film, you may be disappointed. It lays it's cards in front of you at the beginning of the movie and allows you to make up your mind about the validity of the story. But if you're interested in the film for the thoughts it may provoke, you'll be pleasantly surprised with how much enjoyment you can get out of it.