By: Emily Kellas
Rating:7 out of 10
People always say “the universe has a plan for you,” or “it must be fate” but for most of us, they usually remain just that, sayings. This weekend a new film has taken those sayings and created an interesting concept on the ways in which our fate is determined. The directorial debut of writer/producer Christopher Nolfi The Adjustment Bureau, though grand in concept, falls short of its potential.
The Adjustment Bureau tells the story of politician David Norris (Matt Damon), who discovers that there truly are written plans for his life, and when he strays from those plans, a bureau of case workers must make adjustments to get him back on his path. These men are bent on keeping him separated from his dream girl, Elise (Emily Blunt).
The concept, is certainly thought provoking, and made for an interesting foundation for the film. It seemed to almost combine aspects of previous films such as Bruce Almighty, 1984 and Dogma, but fails where the aforementioned films succeeded. Another theme that could have been more fully developed and expanded upon was that of knowing exactly what your futures holds and how to react to knowing your future. Though it dabbled with the theme, the audience never really gets to see the internal struggle for each character over their choices in a memorable way.
The action that was so promised to us by the trailer for the film was there, in small doses, but brought with it very little creativity. Action was confined to the realm of running… and lots of it. The performances too, were at best sub-par. Matt Damon, usually a crowd and critic pleaser, gives a fairly flat performance. Emily Blunt, gives an equally uninspiring performance as Elise, a woman whose independent and fiery spirit could have been explored further by The Devil Wears Prada actress.
With that said, I could appreciate the hidden shout out to Monroe County for those of us who call upstate New York home, which certainly garnered a small cheer from the local audience. I also appreciated the subtle John F. Kennedy references within the David Norris character that would echo even louder as the film continued and Norris’s life plan was revealed.
Overall The Adjustment Bureau film was entertaining, and provided for a few thought provoking questions and concepts, but in the end it disappointed in execution. Perhaps, the disappointment is all apart of a larger written plan for director Christopher Nolfi… or maybe it was just an ok film by a first time director. I’m leaning towards the last explanation.