Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Adjustments needed for "The Adjustment Bureau"

Let me first admit that I'm in no way a film critique but I am a paying movie goer. This being written, caught the new Matt Damon offering, "The Adjustment Bureau" based on trailers of the film. In retrospect, sometimes it's better to remember the movie previews and skip seeing the film itself, at least until it comes out on DVD. This is one of those situations. It's not that I don't care for Matt as an actor because he's always done justice to other roles in which he acted.

The premise of the film is that our lives are pre-ordained and we can't or shouldn't change them but sometimes there are exceptions to the rule, and if and when we do try, there is a price to be paid. Got that?

As an up and coming young politician, the film opens with David Norris (Damon) seeking a congressional seat but on election night, a report surfaces concerning a brawl he has at a college reunion causing his rating to fall among his constituents. While practicing his concession speech, he encounters Elise, played by Emily Blunt, a ballerina hiding from security having crashed a wedding.

Security? For crashing a wedding? Say what? Why they chose Blunt for the role is a mystery from my perspective. She was...there. Period.

They meet and sense something familiar. After a much too long discussion about where and why they know each other that seemed to go nowhere, he suddenly feels inspired to change his concession speech into a confession in front of his supporters, which in turn things around positively and he prepares for another try. He meets her again while travelling on a bus to his new job at a venture capital firm, she gives him her phone number and he promoses to call. This whole scene seemed agonizingly long as did a large portion of the movie.


Arriving at his place of work, he catches sight of strange-looking men in suits wearing hats. The suits looked normal to me but the hats - that's something else. What the symbolism behind wearing hats is a mystery. Perhaps there were film investors who were hat company owners or maybe I missed the explanation. Have to admit that I dozed off for a few minutes. In any case, the good/bad-ish-at-times guys kidnap Damon. He is informed by the head-hat-person, Mr. Richardson, that they are "Adjusters" and that he wasn't supposed to have met Elise the second time on the bus. Where these adjusters come from - we presume heaven or some ethereal place but it's not clear - walk the earth among humans to ensure things go according to "The Plan." This 'plan', laid out by their Chairman, is kept in a notebook and it's their responsibility to keep balance in the world. A close-up of The Plan shows lots of lines and squiggles and directional arrows on maps.

It's a very convoluted film with warnings by the hat people about dire consequences if David contacts Elise again since it will ruin her chances into devleloping into a world-famous ballerina and his political career will be over. He is given the choice and to drag out the film even more, he walks away from Elise who eventually ends up engaged to someone else, but after seeing headlines of her impending nuptials in a newspaper, Norris goes after her. And so on, and so on...
Let me state for the record that I really enjoy these type of films, which present people with moral choices that could affect the future. This film, however, didn't do it for me. Somehow the hat-people seemed almost comical, which definitely was not intentional in spite of their austere demeanor. It also didn't help that the chase scenes featured the couple on the run entering doors that lead to different geographical locations to flee their pursuers. At one point and upon entering a door, the couple found themselves in the middle of an empty stadium. What was the symbolism? Empty stadium equals empty lives, equals no hotdogs or peanuts?

BTW - the couple are informed at the end of the movie that the people-who-wear-hats look like all of us only wearing hats are among us. This includes cops, construction get the picture. Now we know why the world is the way it is.

As I mentioned at the beginning - wait for the DVD.

Rating: 2 hats out of 5

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