Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The Adjustment Bureau
Matt Damon seems to have the unfortunate luck of being in promising, but eventually delayed movies. Last year, he was fantastic in the very underrated and horribly marketed war thriller, Green Zone. That film was original tentative for a fall 2009 release, which means a potential awards contender. However, it was bumped back to March to due unknown reasons. Well, not really unknown, but the educated guess would be that studios suggested the film could make more money in a less aggressive movie season. They were wrong. The movie opened to $14 million and became a flop for Universal. It's sad because it was one of the best movies of 2010.
Now, here's The Adjustment Bureau, another delayed Matt Damon movie bumped to an early March release date. However, this film does not follow the same merit Green Zone deserved, and instead is a harmless romantic science-fiction thriller about old men with cool hats who monitor the entire planet. My guess about its delay would be because the theatrical trailer resembled another film you may have heard of called Inception, and at the time, who the hell wanted to compete with that? The Sorcerer's Apprentice was supposed to be the counter-programming of Inception and look how that turned out (it was one of the biggest bombs of last year). In the end, counter-programming for Inception is like saying 3D works for every movie.
The Adjustment Bureau is loosely based off the Philip K. Dick short story, Adjustment Team. Damon plays up-and-coming politician David Norris, who is on his way to becoming one of the country's leading leaders. I say that in ridiculous fashion because there's no real indication as to what his end goal is (until the end twist which I certainly won't give away) so for now, just go with the fact that David Norris is about to have his dreams come crashing down because of every person's kryptonite: love.
David meets a beautiful dancer named Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) in a bathroom after a tough election defeat. Instantly, they connect. This is believable because of the talents of Damon and Blunt, who share the chemistry necessary to pull off this attraction in a matter of moments.
The twist in this romance is that they were never supposed to see each other again after their first encounter. We discover that the Adjustment Bureau, basically a group dressed like extras in Mad Men, control and monitor the entire world, meaning that everything must go according to plan. Their plan. What's suitable, yet bittersweet is director George Nolfi's choice to take the simpler approach and basically uses only this mythology to tell the story. David and Elise aren't supposed to be together because it's not apart of the plan. Defying complex explanations allows more authenticity to our modern society, where us regular people do not know what the plan is created by those above us. The result is a relevant and mildly entertaining thriller.
Although with this simplicity comes missed opportunities. I wanted to know why David Norris was the spotlight on this. Why a politician? Why must the fate of the world rest on just two people and their love? I would have liked The Adjustment Bureau's ending to have given us more than just a wild-goose chase, something many films stoop to as the cowardly way out.