Monday, June 27, 2011

Adjustment Bureau: Grade C


The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Terence Stamp. Co-Writer & Director George Nolfi.

Maybe there is no such thing as science fiction and that’s why there are so few good sci-fi movies. Science is about logic, and cause-and-effect, whereas fiction delves into areas that are impenetrable to science, such as love.

This is actually a love story, with a sci-fi backdrop, and it works as long as you don’t try to make sense out of the sci-fi part. Damon is a New York congressman. He briefly meets a woman (Blunt) in a hotel men’s room, in strong opening scene. But despite his wish to see her again, he can’t because he lost her phone number.

Well, he didn't really lose it, it was taken from him by thugs from the “adjustment bureau,” a group of heavies wearing felt fedoras, who are divine caseworkers sent to enforce “the plan” of human predestination. The Big Guy (known as “the Chairman”) has decided that humans can no longer be trusted with free will and every life must be completely managed. In the master plan, Damon is designed to become President someday and a romance with Blunt would throw that off track. How that could happen, if free will is nullified and life is predetermined, is one of many logical lacunae that must be overlooked. Just like the fact that, since he is a well-known congressman, it would not be much trouble for her to contact him, but never mind that either.

Anyway, he persists in trying to find her, despite warnings and threats from the angelic thugs, and he even does find her once “by chance” (whatever that is, in a predetermined world), but he is again separated from her. The movie then devolves into endless chase scenes, with Damon dragging her around the city by the hand, to prove finally that love conquers even Fate. Wow, so individual free will (which supposedly does not exist) is greater than God’s plan for all humanity? Hmmm…

Nonsense aside, the relationship story between Damon and Blunt is interesting enough to keep the movie going. Damon is more than just Jason Bourne here, he actually shows some acting chops, not as good as in The Informant, but very watchable. Blunt’s role is teary-eyed, passive-submissive but she executes well. Cinematography is crisp and the city looks good.

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