SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

Hey all.

This section is now closed.

But don't despair, all Movie News that was posted here will now be posted on the main SpoilerTV Site here.

See you over there!

The Adjustment Bureau, aka The Fedora Bureau- Review by Emily Bishop

Labels: , ,

The art of releasing a movie at a time when it will be most successful is 5 percent logic and 95 percent luck. The logic part simply consists of factoring in when the target audience will be most likely to go to the theater and for what reason (explosive action movies are great for the summer, and holiday-themed movies are self-explanatory) and whether or not the movie could be a contender for any major awards (other than a few exceptions, you’ll hardly ever find an Oscar-worthy movie between February and July).

Once this is considered, the process of finding a release date for a film gets a little trickier, and it’s not surprising when some studios have bad luck. The most recent example of movie misfortune is Hereafter, directed by Clint Eastwood, which was just released in Japan. Hereafter contains a scene with a tsunami, and due to some incredibly unfortunate timing, it seemed insensitive to keep it in theaters. Another unlucky film was The China Syndrome, which starred Michael Douglas, Jane Fonda, and Jack Lemmon, focused on a reporter investing a nuclear power plant. The movie was later yanked from theaters, because 12 days after its release was the accident at Three Mile Island, the biggest nuclear disaster in the history of the United States.

The Adjustment Bureau was fortunate to be timelier, luckily for Universal Pictures who almost released the film last September and would not have been as successful in that case. Seeing as March is usually a dull month for movies, the romantic sci-fi flick fared well as a breath of creativity to revitalize theaters full of generic action movies and laugh-free comedies. However, at The Adjustment Bureau’s center is not only a message of love conquering all, but a testament to the human spirit, and to free will.

The Adjustment Bureau is an inspiring movie for a time when suppressed souls around the globe are fighting for the liberty of choice. Although the movie tells the story of one man rising against an establishment, the message relayed in its trailer is universal: “If you believe in free will, if you believe in chance, if you believe in choice, fight for it.”

One of the main reasons The Adjustment Bureau is so uplifting is because it manages to convert one of its flaws into one of its benefits. Although the film is based off of the short-story The Adjustment Team by the legendary writer Philip K. Dick (other film adaptations of his stories include Blade Runner and Total Recall), its sci-fi roots are overpowered by its powerful love story, fueled by the chemistry between its two leading stars. It is also fueled by how good fedoras can make almost anyone look, and the costume department managed to put fedoras on nearly everyone they possibly could.

Matt Damon, at his most charming here, plays David Norris, a politician whose career has taken a turn for the worse. Emily Blunt is Elise, a dancer who first meets David in a bathroom before he makes an important speech. The attraction between the two is instant, but they are separated before they learn too much about each other. However, by the miracle of chance, they meet again on a bus. Enter the members of the Adjustment Bureau, a bunch of older men who wear, you guessed it, fedoras. They were supposed to make sure the two love birds never met again.

The rest of the film follows David’s quest for the truth, and his fight to be with Elise, no matter what consequences might arise in the future. According to the Bureau, their relationship goes against the “plan”, which was concocted by the mysterious Chairman. David, like any good rebel, realizes he’s a mouse running around in one big maze and decides that either the plan must be altered, or he will alter it himself. At points in the film, the Bureau can seem slightly cheesy. Headed by Thompson, Richardson, and Harry (a clever play on Tom, Dick, and Harry, which is a term for anonymous persons), the Bureau isn’t as intimidating as what the viewer might want from this film.

Another flaw with the film is its chase scenes, which are borderline anti-climactic. The blame for this partly lies on George Nolfi, the director of the film. The Adjustment Bureau is Nolfi’s directorial debut, and there is a little more substance intended to be in this film than what a first-time director can adequately handle. In simple terms, putting The Adjustment Bureau in Nolfi’s hands was the cinematic equivalent of handing the keys of a Porsche to a toddler. Regardless of his inexperience, Nolfi still manages to handle the wheel sufficiently, and he thankfully never runs over any mailboxes.

Even though the film has flaws that originate mostly from its inexperienced director, it has a redeeming quality that is almost enough compensation; Damon and Blunt, in their first film together, have chemistry that runs deep. As proof, Damon’s character utters one of the most touching lines of dialogue of the year so far; “All I have are the choices I make, and I choose her,” he says at one point. The most cold-hearted, unromantic viewers will find themselves rooting for the pair. If Damon and Blunt consider pairing up for more films in the future, it’s safe to say a powerful dynamic will develop between the two, like a modern-day Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, two legendary actors who starred 9 movies together.

The Adjustment Bureau carries its message of the importance of free will as well as it carries its message of true love. The fact that David, just one single man, has the strength to challenge the suppressive plan, is a little bit of hope that many people deserve to get from a movie right now. Perhaps it might start up a massive fedora craze as well, which is not so much a question as a request.

In a year that has so far been populated by tedious and uninspiring movies, The Adjustment Bureau is one that cannot be missed. Aside from being, for the most part, thoroughly entertaining, it leaves its audience with positive feelings, rather than just a bad taste. A movie as timely as this one is a rarity; a movie as timely and as uplifting as this one is a true gift; and a movie as timely, uplifting, and fedora-filled as this one is something of a miracle.

Grade: 7.5/10

blog comments powered by Disqus