Thursday, March 10, 2011

"The Adjustment Bureau" makes a strong case for love

Love is truly an amazing thing.  It can cut through all boundaries and sometimes time and space.  You have heard the stories that people say about being drawn to each other only to find out they were in love in a past life.  That is surely one strong bond.  There are many strong cases to say that if true love is apparent between two people nothing can keep them apart.  This is the theory behind George Nolfi's sci-fi drama "The Adjustment Bureau".

Nolfi takes a classic love story and wraps it up in a nice science fiction package.  I'm hopefully not giving too much away since they talk about this in the commercials.  The Bureau is in charge of making sure everyone stays on the Plan.  After a devastating night in the polls, David Norris (Matt Damon) meets Elise (Emily Blunt) in the mens room.  It is a weird encounter but you can immediately see there is a spark.  This sets in motion the love story that unravels in much running and arguing.  You see, Norris wants to see Elise again.  The Bureau says no.  And we all no Matt Damon doesn't take no for an answer.

Damon and Blunt play off of each other quite brilliantly.  Blunt has always been able to take a large character and make her come off as completely natural.  Blunt's Elise is no exception.  She has a natural and charming lilt to all her words.  She is beautiful.  She is the kind of woman you want to open doors for.  But she is also the kind of woman you want to go have a beer with.  Elise is the quintessential every-man's woman....with an English accent.  Damon...well he does a great job.  He really isn't doing anything out of the ordinary here.  He needs to be a charismatic politician type.  He could do that with his hands tied behind his back.  The rest of the cast is good if not kind of flat.  Even the appearance of Terrance Stamp late in the film isn't enough to touch the light that Blunt and Damon spark up when they are on screen together.  It is because of this that there are times in the film when you almost stop caring. 

The story is truly interesting, but the players of the story aren't always as interesting.  It may be because the Bureau was a bit TOO mysterious.  There is hints as to what they are and that isn't the reason.  I think the big issue is that they were never really fully explained.  I found myself wanting to know more about what they did.  It was all very mysterious and gave hints to a back story, but never really came out and said anything in depth.  Instead of supporting the love story, it was almost like the sci-fi element was distracting at times.  It was integral to the plot, but seemed not needed.  THAT is a director issue.  Of course when the director is also the writer and producer you don't get the outside voice that may have caught this.

There is an interesting muted tone to the movie.  You would think that a movie about love would have a more striking color pallet.  Outside of that, there is some really cool shots.  Who knew Emily Blunt could dance?!  Maybe it was just her face digitally put on a dancer's body.  Anyways, there are some neat camera tricks.  One of my favorite was the small clips of the main characters through windows in the distance.  It gave a great feeling of someone watching.  I wish it was used more.

When all is said and done, I did enjoy this film.  It was unique and had some really great moments.  Even the issues that had with it were small.  It is worth it to see Blunt and Damon interact.  You are really routing for them by the end.  In fact, I even cried a bit at how romantic the whole thing was.  Maybe it's just because I have a new wife with a baby almost ready to be born.  I'm in a softy mood.  Love can really conquer all.  Go ahead and see this one.  But hurry before I change my mind.

7 out of 10 stars

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