Sunday, March 13, 2011

"The Adjustment Bureau" (2011) - Movie Review

“The Adjustment Bureau” does what “Frequency” did or any film bringing unrealistic scenario as a tool to enable a better story does. It knows the capability of the innovative premise. This film adapted from the short story “The Adjustment Team” by Phillip K. Dick is a romantic thriller with the tint of lovable drama. Constructing with much awareness of the great questions the audience’s mind will bring upon, they answer it either instantaneously or it becomes insignificant seeing the lovely chemistry between this couple. It is a blissful experience to see a film taking romance with such a finesse touch and give an intelligent film in the process.

David Norris played by Matt Damon is a charmer and hence a great politician. With a million dollar smile and the attitude of youth bubbles in his presence. Yet he loses the senate election, thanks to his bad boy antics in a bar. He is devastated and practices his concession speech alone in the men’s room. Suddenly comes out Emily Blunt retaining her English accent and they strike a chemistry like no other. Close to what “Say Anything” and “Before Sunrise” did. It cannot be more obvious than this that this pair should be together. No questions asked. As usual in the hurried business movie pairs they do not exchange numbers in their first meeting and it becomes one of those moments the protagonist has to meet her again. They do. The very next day in the bus he takes for his work he sits next to the lovely and adorable Elise. The bureau has other plans though.

The premise of the film is that there are these handsome men in suit who follows a plan. Monitors their subjects and aligns the plans in the suggestion of “upstairs” to set things right in the world. Apparently we have been screwing up with the free will they have given us. In this comes David Norris the sunshine boy to step into senate and then to eventual Presidential run for a better world. As the movie rule suggests that US dictates things around the world. Anyway, this revelation is done with the capable and elegant Mad Men John Slattery as Richardson, the boss of Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie). Harry has been monitoring David and his family for a long time and who was supposed to not slip things by letting David and his dream girl meet up. Harry is the moral compass in this bureau and Anthony Mackie is the perfect man to do that. They do not have a choice as David witnessed the clean up crew of this bureau freezing his friend (Michael Kelly) to alter a bit of his mind to suit their plan. The band leaves David with this choice that he should never hook up with the mystery girl and continue his life not talking about their existence to anyone or lose his mind forever. Or as they call it “reset” his mind.

David asks what we want to know. Why they focus on these two people and what is the worst that could happen on being together with the love of their life? Slattery’s Richardson and Mackie’s Harry are truly unaware of that as they all are worker bees with great power to make simple moves in everyday life to change the course of life. I think this is what makes “The Adjustment Bureau” a very good sensible film as they make these bureau people a step above humans but not so much above them. They are frustrated in a more reasonable way and vent in a more usual manner. When Richardson says SOB, we can relate to his trouble and chuckle at it as our main man finds simple loopholes and emerge victorious. Terrence Stamp adds to this list of handsome men in coming as the best of the best in the bureau and he indeed is best.

What can I say about Emily Blunt and Matt Damon in working with very little time and splash their love convincingly over the audience that they are truly the perfect couple? They work literal magic as I have witnessed in few romantic films. The scenes of them sparkle with energy and attraction in its truest form. I was just talking with my brother on the splendid street walk scene in the overlooked independent arena of “Me and You and Everyone We Know” and while David and Elise do not reproduce that caliber of sweet romance in every scene of theirs, they are nothing short of spectacular in bringing out these two wonderful human beings who cannot be more comfortable in being with each other.

George Nolfi wrote and directed this film and it has the resemblance of Christopher Nolan’s structured dream world from “Inception” and yet carries great originality to the tone. I hear the background score of the film and instantly I identify that my favourite music composer is tuning this movie up. Thomas Newman not creates a signature piece to ring upon but evokes these yearning sensibilities of separation, pace and deep love in his tunes.

When I saw the trailers I cannot wonder why the men in this film are dressed up immaculately and are particularly handsome. Nolfi understands that human nature’s instant shallowness always associates angels with beauty and these people commanded by the “chairman” as they refer to has to look good in suits. But as Damon’s character points out in his inspiring and honest concession speech that altering miniscule things in the way one appears aids the chances of winning the audience. David Norris does not win the election while the “The Adjustment Bureau” wins its audience hands down.

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