If there's one thing the viewing audience can come to expect from Matt Damon, it's great film selection. Damon has a knack for choosing groundbreaking scripts, and as a result he landed the #3 spot on my 2010 blog featuring the Best Actors of My Generation (under the age of 42). This is exactly the reason why I was baffled by the initial trailer for Damon's latest picture, The Adjustment Bureau. The preview illustrated an overdone, over the top film with very little substance. I was a skeptic.
Another interesting piece of information surrounding The Adjustment Bureau is the connection between first time director George Nolfi and his star, Matt Damon. As it turns out Nolfi is a very creative writer, perhaps best known for another Damon film, Jason Bourne's third installment, The Bourne Ultimatum. The question becomes, can these two create another well-applauded cinematic feature?
The Adjustment Bureau spans multiple years in New York. David Norris (played by Damon) is a young, passionate politician in the midst of a tight senate race. When photos of a prank get leaked to a newspaper, it shatters the election. As a result, Norris loses the close battle and prepares his concession speech. While doing so, he has a random encounter with Elise (played by Blunt), a beautiful, mysterious woman. The evening leaves a serious mark on Norris, therefore when fate allows him to bump into Elise again, he seizes the moment. Despite their strong connection, a stronger force deems it impossible for the pair to be together. In fact, they'll do whatever it takes to ensure David and Elise go on separate life journeys.
Clever and creative, The Adjustment Bureau proves to be a pleasant experience. On the surface, the film is mildly entertaining, yet rehashed. It's a topic that's been done before. However, at its core the movie is deep and philosophical. Fate vs Free Will. Not to get too far off topic, but I've always seen a distinct difference in those two concepts. Either you believe in fate, a pre-determined outcome, or you believe in free will, where your choices dictate the future. If your life is already written, then how can you have the freedom to choose? It's ideas like these that make The Adjustment Bureau so interesting and progressive. It's a film somewhat beyond its time.
On the other hand, Goerge Nolfi's debut feature is certainly lacking in many areas. For such an innovative and original idea, the director creates a very roundabout way of portraying it on screen. The Adjustment Bureau feels as though it could have landed amongst some of cinema's greatest, however its cyclic approach and redundancy keeps it from such heights.
Matt Damon and Emily Blunt have fantastic chemistry on screen and their romance certainly feels authentic. Both are wonderful performers who we'll have the luxury of enjoying for years to come. The love story behind The Adjustment Bureau is excellent and convincing. Without it, the film easily fails. Hence, kudos to the gifted pair of actors for making it translate on screen.
There are plenty of more pro's than con's with The Adjustment Bureau. You'll be captivated by its love story, and dazzled by it's brilliant complexity. There are a few shortcomings that are noticeable, however you'll appreciate its deep, philosophical approach, and ultimately leave the theatre feeling satisfied. I suggest seeing Matt Damon's newest hit, The Adjustment Bureau. So far, it's one of the best 2011 has to offer.