The Adjustment Bureau

(2011)

Genres: Romance, Thriller

Review: The Adjustment Bureau

Transcript for Review: The Adjustment Bureau

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Matt Damon with that ever-present hat is on the run in THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU. I'm Christy Lemire of the Associatesd Press.

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
And I’m Ignatiy Vishnevetsly of mubi.com.  Our first film is THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, an oddball romantic fantasy that combines mind control, magical hats. modern dance, a convincing love story and some corny but charming talk about free will. Set in New York over the course of about four years, the film stars Matt Damon as a promising but undisciplined young politician who meets a girl in a mens’ room, falls in love with her and then finds his efforts sabotaged at every turn by a team of mysterious supernatural accountants.

Clip 7 (Damon is tied up in a warehouse. John Slattery tells him that he can read his mind).

IGNATIY:
After taking him prisoner, the men let Damon go, but tell him that he can never see her again and that they’ll wipe his mind if he tells anyone they exist.

Clip 6 (John Slattery confronts Damon in the street and tells him he can never see Elise again)

IGNATIY:
What doesn’t help matters is that he keeps running into the girl, a dancer played by Emily Blunt.


Clip 3 (Emily Blunt and Damon have a footrace)

IGNATIY:
If all of this sounds pretty silly, well, it IS pretty silly. And I didn't even get to the part with the magical hats. But THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU has an endearing goofiness. It’s playful and earnest, a combination of a wacky high concept and a low-key screwball romance. It works surprisingly well as a weird, fun little movie.

CHRISTY:
Yeah my thumb is very sideways on this, but slightly up.  I loved this movie for a long time, I love the way its shot, let’s play a little game I’m fond on called “Name that cinematographer”…John Toll shot this and there’s a beautiful kind of starkness that reflects Matt Damon’s sense of isolation and frustration that he cannot be with the woman that he loves.  And they’re tremendous together.  They have this crazy, sexy fun chemistry from the first second you see them together and you want then to be together.

IGNATIY:
And then what ruins the film for you?

CHRISTY:
The ending.  What is ends up being is heavy handed and frustratingly so, I don’t want to give it away…there’s this very, overly simplistic religious allegory that I was like, “Really? Is that what this is really about?” 

IGNATIY: 
For me, it just becomes part of the films charm.  There’s something very old fashioned about this movie and it does fell kind of like…almost like one of those celestial fantasies out of the 30s and 40s.  Something like “A Matter of Life and Death”

CHRISTY:
And there’s an old fashioned look to it, just the way everyone is dressed.  John Slattery of course being on Mad Men has the great look for this.  You see Terence Stamp and the second he shows up, you know that something serious is going to happen here and I like all of that complexity for a long time, but I felt really let down by the ending.

IGNATIY: 
Now, this is adapted from a story by Philip K. Dick…

CHRISTY:
It is.

IGNATIY: 
Who provided the source material for stuff like Blade Runner and…

CHRISTY:
Minority Report…

IGNATIY: 
Yeah Minority Report.  I’m a fan.  I have not read this particular story, but his work tends to be very paranoid and dark so it’s very interesting to see what is essentially a paranoid premise, that there are these secret people controlling the world used as the basis for something giddy and fun.

CHRISTY:
Now, I’m all about paranoid and dark too.  Trust me, I like being challenged that way, but it ends up being just happy.  It becomes fluffy.  Do you want a fluffy ending to a Philip K. Dick story?

IGNATIY:
Uh, well I rather enjoy this particular fluffy ending, so I guess I do.