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    March 27, 2011

    MOVIE REVIEW: THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

    THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (PG13)

    Genre: Science Fiction/Romance
    Release Date: 03 March 2011
    Running Time: 107 minutes
    Distributor: Universal Pictures
    Director: George Nolti
    Screenplay: George Nolfi, based on "Adjustment Team" by Philip K. Dick
    Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, Terence Stamp, John Slatter

    Plot: On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Matt Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), a woman like none he's ever known. But just as he realises he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself - the men of The Adjustment Bureau - who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.

    Review: Few months back, the news that Universal Pictures bumped this out of the calmer autumn into another six months is not a good sign at all. Usually, although not always, a bump on its release date is a bad sign that studio is trying to dump their 'shitty' product. It is a shame that first time director George Nolfi may have his sci-fi mind-bender been dumped for nothing. Nolfi is a good writer that have contributed in The Bourne Ultimatum and Ocean's Twelve. After all, I have plenty of expectation for this to really work, jump starting Matt Damon's career after series of commercial disappointment, not since his Bourne trilogy came to an end. Am I wrong to give such a bold hope?


    David Norris is running for the United State Senate but in 2006, he loses his lead following an exposition of his bad behavior in the public, ruining everything he has done for all this while. In a hotel bathroom, he rehearses for his concession when he meets a woman hiding in one of the stalls. She encourages him to be more original and honest. Attracted to each other, they kiss before David leaves to make the speech. Inspired by the woman, David goes off script and makes an honest speech that makes him a favorite for the 2010 Senate race.

    Later, while riding a bus, David encounters Elise, the woman from the bathroom, who introduces herself and gives him her phone number. David works at a venture capital firm run by his campaign manager, and arrives early. He finds his boss motionless and being examined by strange men in suits. They chase him, and no matter where he runs they catch up to him. David is taken to a warehouse, and Richardson tells him about the Adjustment Bureau. If David tells anyone about them he will be "reset", effectively lobotomized. The plan called for him to meet Elise only once, and he is told to forget her; Richardson destroys the paper with her phone number. The team attempts to reconnect David and Elise for the next three years. What will happen next and will David fights back for his own destiny?


    For a starter, let me express my relief that this film does not ended up in a garbage truck. In fact, The Adjustment Bureau is a smart, casual and decent science fiction movie to begin with. It is amazing how Nolfi managed to make this movie less-Inception but still taking the whole level of cerebral experience at still essentially fun while continue to pose out some questions on humanity to the audiences. It is striking and Nolfi admits that this movie is intended to raise questions but leaving the audiences to decide which allegory or answer to take on. Thus, The Adjustment Bureau is a simple film for thought and ponder, while leaving heavy plots behind thus avoiding the conflict to be a little complex to go through.

    In The Adjustment Bureau, it interrogates simple idea of what will happen to humanity if we are no longer entitled for a free will and what we can do to redeem back the nature to control over own path. It examines the determination of one can go through, in this case, David to find his own destiny to reconnect to Elise in a forbidden love. The Adjustment Bureau has a very good story structure to begin with, but the movie is hampered by its simplicity and lacks of thrilling elements. Many critics thought that director-writer George Nolfi should have been bold and daring to put more stuffs on the table, on which I totally agree. If Nolfi is brave enough to explore more while planting more thrills and idea, The adjustment Bureau could have been a settling and great sci-fi to watch for.


    The Adjustment Bureau is simply unique because for most of its running time, the romantic element has been quite a dominant issue. Of course, the issue is fueled by a strong bond for love and not by a blind passion. It could have been noticeable that at times, Nolfi is unable to check and balance the movement of the story as it goes forward but he is still able to keep things under control. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are some what believable in their chemistry bond and play well as a couple on the run from fate. Though this is not a physical demanding performance like The Bourne trilogy, Matt Damon is still a great actor to watch on screen. The cinematography is good, in particular to the idea where revolving scenes occur just by a flick of door opening mechanism is very intriguing and the final 15 minutes of the film allows the audience to experience a different adventure altogether, giving The adjustment a real deal fantasy and believable theme to believe something worth fighting for. It is not a selfish story but I have to say that the movie could have work better if the ending isn't that perfect after all. Don't you think so?

    The Adjustment Bureau is a good, smart and casual science fiction movie that doesn't take things way too cerebral. It is more like a fantasy and romance than a complicated plot, but The Adjustment Bureau is still workable with convincing performances by casts, exploration of humanity issues and great cinematography works. It could have been better if George Nolfi plays thing a little more bold.

    THE RATING:
    Story: 4.0
    Casts: 4.0
    Cinematography: 4.0
    Effects: 3.5
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 15.7
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