Thursday, March 3, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: The Adjustment Bureau

Guest Blogger Liz Parker is back from an advance screening of "The Adjustment Bureau" staring Matt Damon.  It is a wild thrill ride or a ride to no where?  Let' read what Liz thinks...

The screening for "The Adjustment Bureau" was supposed to start at 7pm in Southfield, but instead started late at 7:45pm. I was debating leaving, but instead I stayed, and I am very glad I did, as "The Adjustment Bureau" is easily one of the better movies I have seen so far this year. The film is a mix between "Inception" and fantasy movies like the "Harry Potter" franchise, and the result of that blending is an interesting and unique film.

David Norris (Matt Damon, "Hereafter") is a young politician running for senate in New York. On Election Day, he has a chance encounter with Elise (Emily Blunt, "Gulliver's Travels"), and can't seem to stop thinking about her. A few days later, he runs into her again, on a city bus, and she gives him his phone number. He arrives at work a bit early and sees something he is not supposed to see: the Adjustment Bureau, hard at work, while his coworkers are frozen and time itself, it seems, has stopped. He of course freaks out and tries to run from them, but the Adjustment Bureau has its ways, and they soon corner him. They tell him that he has seen something that only a few "normal" people have seen in their lifetime, and that if he ever tells anyone about them, they will erase his mind. They also tell him that it was not in "his plan" to run into Elise again, and that he should just forget about her; to ensure this, they take the card with her phone number on it and burn it.

David is heartbroken and cannot remember Elise's number, but then, three years later, they have a chance encounter - he is riding the bus to work and sees her on the street. He re-introduces himself to her and they hit it off again; when the Adjustment Bureau finds out about this, they are furious, and want to put a stop to it. The Adjustment Bureau's job is to make sure everyone follows their own "plan," and when people deviate from the plan, they are the ones who put them back "on course"; David's plan, however, is complicated, and at one time did intersect with Elise's, and it is this former intersection that keeps getting in their way now.

The film is compelling and will leave the viewer with many questions: is there really no such thing as "free will"? It is interesting to think that there are unseen forces around us that shape our decisions and our future, though of course many religions worship an "all-seeing" deity of some kind, similar to the head boss at the Adjustment Bureau that is mentioned in the movie. It is doubtful that each of us has our own book, complete with a diagram of our "life plan," as the Adjustment Bureau agents used for each person, but it's definitely something to think about.

Yes, see this film. Blunt and Damon have undeniable chemistry, and it is a pleasure to watch them in their scenes together. Mad Men's John Slattery has a good supporting role as one of the bureau agents, as well as Anthony Mackie from "The Hurt Locker," The movie even injects some humor, and one can't help but laugh as the agents fume and yell things like "He's making our job difficult!" as Damon's character tries running from them and changing his "plan." The film reminded me of "Inception" because of the mind elements involved, and a little of "Harry Potter" due to the "magical doors" the agents are able to use, which can get them in and out of places quickly. Although the film is 106 minutes long, the story is so interesting that it seems to fly by, and it is a movie, in my opinion, that anyone will find fascinating.

"The Adjustment Bureau" will be in theaters on March 4th

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Liz Parker is a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan. She currently works as an Assistant Medical Editor for a pathology website. Visit her at her movie blog Yes/No Films
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