‘Reviewer’s cut’: The Adjustment Bureau (2011)


 the-adjustment-bureau 1.1

Inspired by Tyson Carter at Headinavice.com I thought it would be a good idea to look back into my archives like he did, and revisit some reviews that may not have gotten the attention they deserved now that I get more people dropping by my site.

Admittedly I felt a little lazy doing it at first but it’s been interesting to see how it all started out and how I can see for myself the novice errors within the writing. I have found it’s a good way to self-develop my own review writing.

So this is my version 2.0 of The Adjustment Bureau. Tyson’s own version 2.0 of The Divide can be read here.

I chose this one as it was the very first review I wrote, the changes I have made are pretty minor and it’s nearly intact from its first publication because I want to present it as it was to maybe show a development against other reviews.

A couple of questions first…

Do you ever look back at some of your reviews and feel they deserved a bit more love? If you do, feel free to link it in the comments and I will happily take a look at it.

Do you compare your reviews now to then?

Is re-posting basically just being lazy?

anyhoo, here’s the review…

Review: The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

I was expecting The Adjustment Bureau to be dark and sinister, instead it turned out to be  a more meaningful cross – genre love story which wasn’t very sinister at all, which leads us to question the choices we make and the events of chance or fate that adjust our plan every day.

The part Sci-Fi, part love story between Senator elect Norris and contemporary dancer Elise starts with a chance meeting in a men’s room; not so curious when we find the free-spirited gal is gate-crashing a party!

The Adjustment Bureau

The chemistry of this first encounter and the following charming chance encounters immediately elevate the belief in the romance and allows for investment in the would be lovers from the start; This makes The Adjustment Bureau work well as a love story.

Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are great together as the beautiful but thankfully unpolished and believable lovebirds. Further events of chance, fate and intervention by “the people who make sure things go according to plan” conspire to pull apart and push our lovers together.

The inevitable head scratching and guesswork starts when we cross genres and first meet Mad men’s John Slattery and Anthony Mackie as the initially one dimensional chase-giving men from the bureau; tasked to “nudge” Norris back in the right direction. The later entrance of the superb Terrence stamp as the quite ruthless Thompson brings some overdue peril and even grander revelations about “the appearance of free will”.

It is here where this hybrid could have gone very wrong, but first time director Nolfi manages to succeed in the mixing of Sci-fi and love story as he ultimately does both well; binding the two with important thought provoking themes, engaging and often charming screenplay and strong characterisation; in particular Mackies’ portrayal as the “case officer” with a heart.

the adjustment bureau 1.1

Comedy is provided curiously and possibly unintentionally at times by the suits of The Bureau. Often haphazard, often just negligent in their supposed really important roles, they are one minute virtually superhuman, the next quite inept. Either way, their human like frailties make for some genuinely funny moments and also leads us to care for them too, when they too question their own sense of right and wrong and the choices they make.

Director and screenwriter George Nolfi sets a solid pace throughout and keeps our attention with some well-timed, but slightly predictable reveals and solid direction, with some beautifully framed shots. The neat score compliments the on screen action well.

Fate, chance and the question of how much free will we are truly afforded run through The Adjustment Bureau and it is these themes that give meaning to our protagonists struggle to evade the supposed plan. Every choice has always been and always will be of consequence, every act has repercussions and events can often be fateful.  Even random events have great resonance with chance seemingly far more influential than any supposed predetermined plan.

I WAS expecting The Adjustment Bureau to be dark. The lighter, uplifting and meaningful film I got, rather than the expected sinister one (suggested by menacingly toned pre-release posters and trailers) was in the end welcome.

There is an absent feeling of any genuine peril and the plot is modestly convoluted for a Philip K. Dick adaptation, but the uncomplicated feel perhaps made for an enjoyable carefree ride than a more formulaic, dark figured men in raincoats (been done before) chase movie.

The Adjustment Bureau balances slightly better as a charming, meaningful love story rather than a true melon meddler but it’s smartly tied together by the things that matter to us all.

new 3 star.

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36 responses to “‘Reviewer’s cut’: The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

  1. The Adjustment Bureau was a huge disappointment for me. I haven’t revisited it since seeing it in the theaters but I remember being excited for it then terribly let down.

    • I get that, it would depend on expectations I guess. I didn’t have any Keith TBH which allowed me to view it with freedom. The end was a let down and it could have played up on the peril to make it far more significant but on the whole, enjoyable. Never read the source (dunno about you?) and I understand it’s a pretty poor adaptation in that regard.

  2. “Do you ever look back at some of your reviews and feel they deserved a bit more love?” Oh yeah. I look back at some of my early MTESS posts, and I’m astounded by how few comments they were getting.

    “Is re-posting basically just being lazy?” Yes. :D :lol: Hey, you asked!

    • ha ha, just confirming what I already knew Fogs! Appreciate it, I did say I made some ‘minor’ adjustments though lol. Thanks for reading and answering the question.

  3. I was surprised by this one, mainly for the fact that I actually really liked it. It wasn’t an amazing movie that got me going through an emotional roller coaster, but I was hooked from beginning to end, even if the ending was a tad lame. Good review.

    • I liked it too. TBH anything with the lovely miss blunt in presses my buttons, she was good with Damon, wasn’t a classic but well worth a watch for anyone.

  4. Good call on this movie – I was pleasantly surprised! I don’t think reblogging your own material is being lazy – I think it serves it’s purposes to get more of your work out. I’ve actually been doing that frequently lately and it’s been nice to get responses to some of the things I wrote about when the only “follower” I had was my wife. I don’t think it’s lazy at all, especially if you take time to spruce it up and clean it up, now that you’ve found “your voice”.

    • Thanks very much. That’s encouraging don’t want to offend the community by peddling my own stuff too much. My lovely lady was probably my only follower back then too lol. Glad too that you can pick out my motives to do it, it’s very much about refining as best as possibly without totally changing it.

  5. I think this is a solid movie that loses its way as it progresses. However, I’m glad you mentioned Blunt and Damon as their chemistry is electric and tangible. Good, God do you want those two to get together in every way possible. Definitely elevated the mediocrity.

    • Ha, I would rather get the chance to get together with her before Mr Damon gets the chance lol. They had really good chemistry, the rest room bit was fun and they clearly got on well. It was the thread that kept it going when it got a little lost. Thanks Nick.

  6. This film got a little silly at times, corny too. But a fun watch nonetheless. I think it’s great revisiting your old posts for your new followers to see. I bring out and old post once in while and decorate in my new format.

    • Coolio then, I will take that as an endorsement. Thanks man. might do a couple more, I thought this review was pretty poor looking back, but that’s part of the point of it I guess.

  7. Nice one Kevin. I thought it was just ok, not great, which is a shame as I was expecting much from a Philip K. Dick adaptation. It just feels too slight for me and not as emotionally-involving.

    • I thought it was okay just too. I loved Damon and blunt in this, they really seemed to connect, but wasn’t enough to elevate it further. Thanks Ruth

  8. Heh. This was the very first film I reviewed on my own blog. I enjoyed it all right, thought it was fairly well done. Obviously not going to crack the top of a “PK Dick movies” list, but still entertaining.

    And yeah, I sometimes think some of my older posts need a bit more love. But then, sometimes I think that of the current ones as well. I’ve occasionally reblogged one or two of them, but I generally try for new content. Twitter and Facebook are a different story, though; if I think something warrants bringing back up, I’ll do so.

  9. Good review buddy. I agree on the rating. I think I gave it an extra 1/2 star but I was feeling generous that day.

    It’s a good idea to go back to reviews that didn’t get much attention. I think we all have them and it’s good to bring it to a wider audience that we’ve worked hard to achieve. I done this myself recently with my Shallow Grave review.

    • I think you read the original too Mark, back in the day :0 I have no issue with it just seeing what the community thinks. Generally people are okay with it.

      • I do vaguely remember coming across one before. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with looking at it again. I plan on doing more myself. If I’ve any reviews that got no likes and no comments what the harm in bringing it people’s attention? I’d rather negative comments than none at all.

      • Good point. I am going to do the same. Think my troll Hunter review had one like. Looking back I was probably chuffed but now I’m gutted, I love that movie!

      • I liked Troll Hunter too. I should check my review of that. Not sure if I got any likes or comments on that either.

        I like the idea of rereleasing a review as it can take the pressure off a bit. Freeing up some time while still delivering something. As long as you don’t kick the arse out of it ;-) I wouldn’t do it anymore than once per film.

      • The was really good, a nice surprise especially the quality of the cg. Does give a bit of rest bite would be good for you at the min if you’re busy.

  10. I liked the chemistry between Damon and Blunt but overall I found the movie to be a disappointment. The sci-fi elements weren’t very imaginative and the ending was a let down.

  11. I know a lot of people liked this, but I really felt disappointed by it, I never felt that the two really fell for each other….

    • that part of it worked for me, but there were many parts that disappointed. An overall decent movie for me that isn’t radical but entertaining enough. sorry you didn’t like it so much. Thanks

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