By Michelle Joline
“The Adjustment Bureau” suffers from a “been there/seen that” plotline and many lackluster acting performances, making it fail to meet the promise of director George Nolfi’s successful prior films, “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007) and “Ocean’s Twelve” (2004).
“The Adjustment Bureau” stars Matt Damon as David Norris, an underdog politician, and Emily Blunt as Elise Sellas, a New York ballerina. The plot follows Damon and Blunt through a romantic tale based in a world where occurrences are decided by fate and an organization known as The Adjustment Bureau works to ensure that each person’s fate comes to pass. This unoriginal premise seems much like the American classic “1984.” Both the classic novel and this film center around the idea that we are constantly being watched with our thoughts monitored and our destinies predetermined by a “Big Brother” figure.
Although the premise is much like that of “1984,” the storyline is unfortunately not as compelling. After David discovers the reality of The Adjustment Bureau, he realizes that only it stands in the way of his being with his true love, Elise. The story takes us through David’s battle to protect the secret of The Adjustment Bureau without losing the thing that makes him most happy–Elise. Despite its interesting previews, the film only captivates for about four minutes. By the end of the 105-minute movie, nothing breaks off course from the expected, making the movie a poor combination of “Inception,” with its not-so-successful suspense, and “You’ve Got Mail,” imitating the formula romance.
Damon’s purposeful sprints across the screen did not pull me in like his prior “Bourne” roles, missing the mark for making this an ever-popular intense action flick. Damon just managed to pull off his role as David Norris, a native to the streets of Brooklyn who captured the public eye as the youngest member of the Senate, most likely because we have seen him portray very similar characters in the past. The fault should not be pointed at Damon for the film not meeting expectations, because we know he can successfully capture this sort of character; perhaps the blame should be pointed to the less-than-original plotline written by Nolfi.
The saving grace to the film is Blunt’s performance. Blunt captivates everyone in the audience when she is on screen with her honest portrayal, forcing Damon to raise the bar from scene to scene. It is unfortunate that Blunt and Damon were not given a better story to play with and explore character developments together since they do actually play a convincing couple. Maybe if we are lucky we will get the chance to see the two attempt another pairing role in the future.
With a story that has already been drilled into everyone’s heads over the past decades, “The Adjustment Bureau” disappoints despite its many promising previews and its celebrated cast. Your money is not well spent on this film; hopefully Damon and Blunt will bring more to be desired in their next big screen roles.