The Adjustment Bureau

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Adam Lenhardt, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    This movie comes out March 4. This evening I attended a free advance screening of held for a local news anchor who cameos as himself in the film. I wanted to highlight it for people who have seen the trailers and maybe weren't sure what to make of it.


    Wow, was I surprised. Usually films that get delayed over and over again turn out to be terrible. This one is a marvelous movie, just impossible to market. It takes the central idea from a Philip K. Dick story, that there are shadowy people who manipulate events to ensure predestined outcomes, and expands the scope almost beyond belief.


    It is a real science fiction story, with no guns or explosions or violence. There are a couple chase scenes, but they are literally chase scenes: with people, on foot. Nobody's life is in danger. The stakes are far more important than that. Matt Damon is phenomenal as the Brooklyn Congressman aiming to be the next U.S. Senator from the great state of New York. The political details achieve absolute verisimilitude; all of the TV stations are real TV stations, none of the phone numbers are 555 phone numbers. The film was shot on location in New York and feels like it. The film explores questions of free will and destiny, and explores them seriously. The choices are never simple. The dance between science fiction and theology is calibrated perfectly, and the mechanics of this universe are elaborate, but clearly defined and justified. It fully acknowledges the faults and failings of the human species, even as it celebrates the human ability to defy limitations.


    The shadowy figures that compose the Adjustment Bureau omnipresent but neither infallible nor unbeatable. Their advantages are accompanied by weaknesses that more or less balance out; they are not blank faces, but characters every bit as developed as the "normal" characters. In a world that is proven to be preordained, their success at any given task is never preordained.John Slattery is a highlight as Richardson, the adjuster assigned to get Damon's Congressman back onto the Plan. He balances the comedic and the dramatic perfectly with a working man's affability as he is increasingly frustrated by the Congressman's efforts to blaze his own trail. Anthony Mackie is phenomenal as Richardson's predecessor on the case, who is seriously second guessing the assigned task. Terence Stamp is bone-chilling as Richardson's successor, who doesn't chase the Congressman but instead presents him with a cruel ultimatum. Emily Blunt manages the impossible, presenting a love interest who could plausibly induce a man to go to war with destiny itself.


    This is screenwriter George Nolfi's directorial debut. His only other credits were the subpar screenplay for Timeline, the perfectly mediocre screenplays for Ocean's Twelve and The Sentinel, and the solid screenplay for Bourne Ultimatum. Nothing from any of those movies would have suggested he had a movie like this in him. It's perhaps the most astonishingly confident debut film I've ever seen.
     
  2. Adam Gregorich

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    Thanks for the info Adam. I saw a trailer during the Super Bowl and it looked interesting. I don't see many movies in the theater and your comments along with the trailer make me really want to see this one. I like Matt Damon and am a big Emily Blunt fan. Here is the full trailer:





    Teaser trailer:
     
  3. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    Thanks for the review, Adam. Been curious about this one for a while, and now will have to make a point to see it.
     
  4. Rhett_Y

    Rhett_Y Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the review. This was on my see list before I read this review now I can't wait to see it!


    Thanks again.
     
  5. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    You're welcome! I hope it lives up to my hype!
     
  6. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Me too! I was really anxious to see this last fall as I think it was set for Oct. 2010 but got moved back. Looks very interesting and something I would like to see.

    Part of me hopes it won't have some weird ending though. :)
     
  7. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I also think this looks very interesting and want to see it in theaters. The trailers remind me a little of "Dark City."
     
  8. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Matt Damon plays David, a youthful Senate candidate for New York, and Emily Blunt, plays Elise, the woman who would inhabit David's personal void after a chance meeting on the night of the election. The film introduces us to the concept of integral forces out there which undermine personal choice in lieu of guiding humanity through a form of fate policed by the adjustment bureau (AB), which is tasked with keeping things running on schedule and according to plan.


    Damon and Blunt have a nice chemistry between, it's believable, and it's the thread that holds the plot line together, even though at a tenuous pace. There are chase scenes that don't need to happen if a simple bit of Q&A occurred between the principals, but it ramps up the movie's tension and buoys the AB's importance in interjecting themselves into the lives of these 2 people, and ups the stakes at their union in the second half of the film. Overall, was I surprised by the end, not really, but it was an interesting thought experiment put to film, and it had a good steady pace, with increasing amounts of urgency in the final act.


    I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Fairly interesting plot line, but overall, I found

    this film to rise just above being mediocre.


    I suppose I was looking for something grittier

    than a romantic drama. I have never been a

    big Matt Damon fan, but I really enjoyed his

    performance here as an up and coming Senate

    candidate.

    I think this film will be quickly forgotten in the

    coming months when (hopefully) bigger and

    better fare arrive.
     
  10. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Liked it. Kind of wanted a bit more. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations as I remember seeing the first teaser last summer, then it was delayed from an October 2010 release to now? The Adj. Bureau has been my most anticipated movie so far this year.

    Like most here so far, an interesting plot and story. Good performances etc...just felt a tad detached from it all. Usually movies like this really draw me in but I felt a little unmoved for a lack of a better word. Still, there was a great deal to like. Thought all the acting was really good and effective as was the direction.

    Wouldn't mind seeing it again and perhaps I would care more.

    For now, a somewhat generous 8/10.
     
  11. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    Yeah, that was about how I felt about it. Thought it was good, but was just uninvolved in it all. The leads had good chemistry, the dialogue was snappy and the plot (for the most part) worked well enough. I just felt detached from it.


    One thing I could pinpoint was the choice near the end of the film where the song "Fever" was played just as Damon "makes a run for it". That was a big choice for him and should have been an emotional nadir, but with a slightly silly song playing it undercut any emotion that had built to that point.


    But overall I wanted to like it more than I did.
     
  12. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    From an entertainment perspective I enjoyed it. However, I don't imagine I'll ever see it again until it's on HBO.
     
  13. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    Like Adam G. we don't go to the movies much, maybe 2-3 times a year but I really wanted to see this one. It was a good choice. The movie moves along at a very good pace and what it was really about was a nice surprise. Well the two things it was actually about.
    Well I think the two main ideas were love rises above ALL, even if that all is the "Chairman" as the creator of "the Plan" is referred to throughout. Also the idea that there are beings working behind the scenes to make sure everything works according to the plan. Now I went in with no knowledge of what would be in this movie which is rare for me. I expected sci-fi but not to this extent. That is there being a supreme being who was the Main controller of what was going on. Trailer showed this somewhat but made it look like a group of ordinary humans were "The Bureau" and they were adjusting things for their own specific gain.
    I really liked it and would say 4 out of 5 stars.
     
  14. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

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    saw this last night.


    Eh.


    As I watched the movie, I couldn't help but feel like I've seen it all before. Nothing new here. Kinda boring.
     
  15. JayMacey

    JayMacey Stunt Coordinator

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    I honestly thought this was one of the most ridiculous movies I've ever seen. He meets the girl in the bathroom, has a 3 minute conversation with her & becomes obsessed with her to the point of not caring about the election? Very unbelievable. Then he sees her again on a bus for 3 minutes and then tells his best friend it's the woman of his dreams? Again, very unbelievable. I mean, he literally spent, what, 8 minutes with her total, and he's obsessed with her? It's absolutely laughable.

    Then the ridiculous-ness goes on with the Jesus hats and the doors and everything else. Then the stupdity carries on when she talks about how she had never been hurt as bad in her life as she had with him, when they spent what, 3 days together?
    The entire thing was so unbelievably ridiculous, that it kept jarring me out of the movie. I literally LOL'ed a few times at some of the more ridiculous things (as well as a few other people in the theater).
    VERY VERY disappointed in this one.
     
  16. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  17. JayMacey

    JayMacey Stunt Coordinator

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    I definitely see your points, I just found it completely unbelievable & as I said, some of it jarred me out of the movie so much I LOL'ed in the theater (& felt bad about it). I REALLY REALLY wanted to like this movie. It just didn't work for me.
     
  18. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Yeah, I can definitely understand that. I've had movies that other people loved fall completely flat with me too. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one as much as I did.
     
  19. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Finally saw this today and really enjoyed it. The cast was great and the plot maintained that delicate balance of providing just enough detail to keep up with the story, but also keeping some mystery about the agents (angels?), the Chairman, and the Plan. I especially loved Mr. Thompson's explanation for why they do not simply allow Free Will to dictate events:


    We stepped aside once, to see what the human race could do on its own. You gave us the Dark Ages, for 500 years. After a few centuries we tried stepping back again in 1910. You gave us World War I, the Depression, the Holocaust, and brought the world to the brink of annihilation over the Cuban Missile Crisis.


    I thought the main point driving the plot was the very fact that David and Elise were so completely and inexplicably drawn to each other even after just meeting briefly. It was the whole "love at first sight" thing and the continued thoughts/feelings for each other that kept confounding the AB's plans for the couple.
     
  20. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Some people love this, some are in the middle, and some hate it. I hated it. It had nothing to do with what makes PKD great in spite of all of his flaws.
     

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