FATE IN ARMANI SUITS
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU
Review by Maria Markosov
Matt Damon, who has developed into possibly the most appealing everyman leading man in Hollywood films today, following the footsteps of stars like Kevin Costner, Michael Douglas and Harrison Ford, uses his unassuming intensity to fantastic use in films like this and the Bourne series. “The Adjustment Bureau” is another well-made and tasteful film in his collection of action/chase movies. This time he is chasing the girl but must conquer the obstacle of his fate, in the form of The Adjustment Bureau, a group of men in suits who carry the book of people’s lives and connections and make sure it all goes according to ‘plan.’ The plan ‘must’ stay in place in order to avoid, according to them, the things that happen when we silly humans exercise our free will. They point to some of the worst elements of human history, such as the Holocaust, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Depression and so forth as times when they had foolishly allowed us our free will and we inevitably screwed up when they took the ‘training wheels’ off.
But the film handles these concepts in a way that is more fun than heavy-handed. It is also funny when you realize that the movie is really a romantic comedy disguised as a high concept action film, not the first time we’ve seen this in films, but love is definitely one of the better reasons for having a high concept and it makes the action elements so much more entertaining. If anyone really thinks the world revolves around them, they certainly would be even more convinced of this by watching this film, because we are made to believe that Damon’s love life is crucial to the future of the world.
Director George Nolfi also wrote “The Bourne Ultimatum”, “The Sentinel” and “Ocean’s Twelve”, so he has a finely-tuned grasp of films of this style. Transitioning to directing, though “The Adjustment Bureau” is his first film, you’d never know it. It is as slick and well-done as its concept would allow.
Emily Blunt plays the girl that Damon (and most men) would never let leave their sight. Who knew she was such an amazing dancer? The film exposes Blunt’s talent which lends an artistic dimension. Blunt is a real star. She is not only genuinely beautiful, but her personality, strength and sense of humor make her one of the most likable actresses working today and the peanut gallery just told me they’d like to see a lot more of her. We first noticed her in “The Devil Wears Prada” where she stole all the scenes she was in with Anne Hathaway.
Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are maybe the first action film couple I’ve seen in years that had great chemistry. Their scenes sparkled and popped and they managed to make “falling in love at first sight” more believable than you see in most films.
Making some enjoyable cameos are several prominent politicians and Jon Stewart. And I want to also acknowledge supporting player Anthony Mackie, who played the most sympathetic member of The Adjustment Bureau and is best known for his most recent role in “The Hurt Locker”. Look for him to break out as a lead in the not-so-far future.
The film works from beginning to Hollywood ending, and I highly recommend it as an enjoyable and well-done date movie.
Directed by: George Nolfi
Release Date: March 4, 2011
Run Time: 106 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures