Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau

Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau

PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexuality and a violent image
Genre: Romance, sci-fi, thriller
Running Time: 1 hour 46 minutes

Matt Damon stars in The Adjustment Bureau as a man who glimpses the future fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue the only woman he’s ever loved across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York City. On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, politician David Norris finds himself face to face with a very serious question…

Do we control our destiny…or do unseen forces manipulate us?

When Politics Crashes With Love

David Norris, an ambitious politician played by Matt Damon, meets a beautiful contemporary ballet dancer named Elise Sellas, played by Emily Blunt. She’s a woman like none he’s ever known. But, as he realizes he’s falling in love with her, mysterious men arrive on the scene and work to keep them apart. That’s when David discovers he’s up against the agents of Fate – the men of The Adjustment Bureau – who will do anything and everything in their power to keep David and Elise from being together.

Suddenly, in the face of what appears to be overwhelming odds, Norris must either let his love go and accept a predetermined path, or risk everything to defy fate to be with her.

On the surface this looks like a story of politics. The trailers lead you to believe it’s a story of yet another politician who gets into trouble as a result of forbidden love. As a matter of fact, on the surface The Adjustment Bureau looks like it could be nothing more than another Hollywood agenda movie pushing a one sided political stance. At the beginning of the movie I must admit I was sure I was in for a two hour Matt Damon Democrats are the best type flick.

But suddenly…everything changed…

A Mystical Search For Purpose & Destiny

So just what’s going on with Matt Damon these days? I’m not saying that because I think this is a terrible movie. I’m saying it because it appears Damon is searching for some meaning in life. On the heals of his movie Hereafter we have yet another movie with a definite spiritual angle to it. But, it also appears many in Hollywood are searching for some kind of meaning in life. Lets not forget the recent Leonardo DiCaprio movie Inception. The writers of that movie appear to be searching for some kind of meaning in life too.

The Adjustment Bureau is a fascinating look at the age old debate of freewill versus predestination.

Referring to the Chairman of the Board, those working in the Adjustment Bureau answer to him as they try to make sure life on earth goes according to plan. Apparently the Chairman tried the freewill plan before but was not impressed with how humans did things. As a result, it’s now up to The Adjustment Bureau to make sure everything goes according to plan. But, that’s not good enough for David Norris. He’s out to prove he does have a freewill and does everything he can to make sure what was a so-called “chance” meeting of  a woman he fell in love with, become permanent.

A Typical Flat Performance

While the storyline is intriguing, Matt Damon puts in his usual flat performance. There are some one dimensional actors I do like. Nicolas Cage is pretty much one dimensional. But, he has a screen presence that always pulls you into whatever he might doing. Such is not the case for Matt Damon. He’s one dimensional, predictable and flat. While he attempts to show emotion, he seldom pulls it off. Sometimes he simply over-reaches which in turn makes him over-act. If it weren’t for Emily Blunt who plays his love interest, Elise Sellas, The Adjustment Bureau would probably fall into the category of a Tom Cruise vanity film.

Overall I did find The Adjustment Bureau an enjoyable movie. While it’s not an edge of your seat or jump off the screen type movie, there are enough twists and turns along the way to keep you interested. Sometimes the characters are hard to follow. But, The Adjustment Bureau is really less about character development and more about asking question – Just who is in control of our purpose and destiny.

As for rating, it’s PG-13, but we are calling it cautionary family-friendly. There’s just enough going on here that you need to be cautious and use judgment if you plan to take your kids to this movie. But then again, since this is not a jump off your screen type of movie, the younger crowd really won’t like it that much. The Adjustment Bureau is more of a thinking mans movie than anything else.

Cautiously enjoy the show!
Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.