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Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau

March 12th, 2011 at 09:48am

On Thursday I went to Shepparton to see The Adjustment Bureau which seemed to have the most appealing plot of the current crop of movies screening at cinemas (I’ll wait for the DVD release of The King’s Speech…it’s not my cinema-going cup of tea) and I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed.

Matt Damon stars as a New York Congressman whose life is turned upside down when, after losing a Senate election and taking a job in private industries, an error, not of his own doing, brings him face-to-face with the agents of fate known as The Adjustment Bureau who are in the middle of “adjusting” the people he works with.

This, combined with a chance meeting with the love of his life, places him in direct conflict with the agents of fate, and in a battle for the right to his own free will…a battle which could see him “reset” (code for “lobotomised”) at any moment.

The story is surprisingly palatable given the many directions in which it could have been taken…and for people like me who are a tad paranoid and conspiratorial at the best of times, it’s interesting to see someone else’s take on the idea of secret forces controlling our lives. Thankfully this isn’t another “the government is controlling you” movie, and without giving anything away, is something much more imaginative and believable.

The story progresses at a nice pace and the backstory for the plot is surprisingly well thought out for this genre of movie. In fact, the only real criticism I have of the movie is that the ending seemed a tad abrupt, and I got the impression that a few scenes in the back half of the movie were deleted which may have provided a bit more detail and made the end seem slightly more complete.

That said, an extra ten or twenty minutes of the movie may very well have been more than the plot could sustain.

The casting was a credit to the movie and contributed greatly to the telling of the story. I’m a great believer that big name stars can be just as much of a distraction as a drawcard to movies, and this was the sort of movie which couldn’t afford many distractions. The lack of particularly big names (Matt Damon excluded, hey, you need at least one big name to get people through the door, and Matt did a great job) helped to keep me engaged in the story, and for the most part the casting seemed to match the characters nicely.

Emily Blunt was brilliant in her role and probably completed the movie. Her character was crucial to the success of the story and the film, and so of all of the cast, I think she was the best pick. Also welcome was Anthony Ruivivar (Carlos from Third Watch) appearing as an agent of The Adjustment Bureau.

MSNBC, the least credible and lowest rating of the cable news networks in the US, was mentioned a bit too often, and their panel discussion scene was just as painful as the station itself. A few less references would have been nice. That said, the news scenes were necessary for the plotline and the movie did make use of some other news outlets, so I’ll let the overuse of MSNBC pass seeing as this was an NBC Universal production, and the MSNBC studios are probably easier for them to access than the more credible news networks.

All in all, it’s not the most serious of movies (if you read the advertised synopsis and thought it was a very serious movie, then you’re going to need to learn to read again…I sure hope that nobody is going to this thing looking for a serious movie), but it is very engaging and quite believable, and above all, interesting and entertaining. I’d recommend watching it, and I look forward to owning it on DVD.

Four stars from me.

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Entry Filed under: Samuel's Editorials

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