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 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.
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.