The Adjustment Bureau – Review

The Adjustment Bureau is the best movie of this admittedly weak year so far.  It’s a bizarre amalgam of genres that reminded me at various times of Dark City, Monty Python, The Box, and The Twilight Zone, not to mention any number of political conspiracy thrillers.

I won’t give away any secrets because that’s a lot of the fun, but this movie doesn’t rely on a “twist” or anything.  It’s just fun to see the information be revealed.  The basic plot is that Matt Damon plays David Norris, a rising politician who meets the girl of his dreams in a fluke encounter.  He wants desperately to see her again, but something is always getting in his way.  He finds out that the someTHING is actually someONE, and the movie goes from there.

The acting is all convincing.  We can see why Damon’s character would be a good politician, and the girl, played by Emily Blunt, is very appealing.  Seeing her here, I was even more regretful that Fox’s corporate BS stopped her from being Black Widow in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers.  The mystery men were good, especially Anthony Mackie, who looked vaguely familiar, and I now realize was Jeremy Renner’s partner in The Hurt Locker.

The movie is both fun AND has something to say.  There’s a subtle but consistent sense of humor throughout, yet when the mystery men need to be menacing, they are.  The sci-fi aspects are whimsical, but not ridiculous.  They don’t explain everything–just enough that you can make your own opinions about the rest.  But unlike I Am Number Four, it’s not like they are deliberately withholding information for a sequel.  They just explain what’s pertinent because the rest doesn’t matter to the story.  It presents questions about fate, God, free will, ambition, happiness, and the greater good but isn’t preachy.  It’s largely left to your own interpretation.

And despite all the heavy ideas, it feels light.  There’s people to root for and a relatively easy plot to follow, so it’s only as deep as you want to make it.  And it’s less than 1 hour and 45 minutes.  This is a great debut for the director.  I can’t believe it’s his first movie.  I’m very much looking forward to what he does in the future.

Ryan S. Davis

I love board games, thrill rides and travel. I'm happy to watch and review all kinds of movies, from mainstream blockbusters to art house indies. As a Warner Bros. employee, I'm privileged with a glimpse of Hollywood many don't see, but my opinions here are my own and not representative of the company.

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