A good movie is one that transports us from our ordinary reality to the one on screen. One that makes us feel as if the story unfolding before us carries a significance; be it Andy Dufresne’s escape from prison in The Shawshank Redemption, Jamal Malik’s day to day struggles in the rough streets of Mumbai in Slumdog Millionaire or Batman’s battles against the epitome of chaos that is the Joker in The Dark Knight.

It has been a long time since I found myself immersed into the reality of a great movie and have since been eagerly awaiting my next journey. I thought I had found it when I first saw the trailer for The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.

The film, directed by George Nolfi, is essentially a love story laced with sci-fi. It follows the protagonist David Norris (Damon) who meets the woman of his dreams Elise (Blunt) by chance. After meeting her again, Norris comes face to face with the Adjustment Bureau. The Adjustment Bureau is hinted to be an otherworldly team who control destiny, allowing what they approve and ‘adjusting’ the wayward through subtle manipulations. Unfortunately for Norris, Elise isn’t a part of his ‘destiny’ and once he discovers this, he goes against the Bureau to find her.

The movie has great potential and almost lives up to it in certain aspects but unfortunately fails in most. The concept of love is explored in a very effective albeit subtle manner; Nolfi shows that love usually dominates over logic from an optimistic perspective. He doesn’t however explore it from a potentially destructive angle, which is a pity as this is what drives the Adjustment Bureau to keep the couple apart. Harry (Anthony Mackie) is a bureau member key to the storyline yet his character is two-dimensional and cliche; he overcomes an internal struggle but this too is hardly portrayed and is left for the audience to assume.

The primary factor that ruined the movie for me was the simple fact that the Adjustment Bureau – a team who is at the crux of the story – is not examined in any detail. All the audience is told is that they are an otherworldly faction who work similar to a corporate entity and ensure the world flows as they deem fit.

Overall, The Adjustment Bureau is an entertaining film. One that was enjoyable to watch but left no impact on me as I walked out the theatre.

First posted on Movie Nation: March 24th, 2011

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