To say that the movies in today's industry are light-hearted and laid back is like saying that Oprah Winfrey is greedy and selfish; it just doesn't work. From the recent influx of action flicks (Battle L.A, Super 8, Sucker Punch and Red Riding Hood, just to name a few) to the high end, serious, psychological movies such as Black Swan, King's Speech and Hereafter it seems like it is almost impossible to catch your breath. However, The Adjustment Bureau, the romance action movie starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, is, to you drowning movie goers, that breath of fresh air.
Now, what should be noted is while the movie contains the word "action" in its title, and actually portrays that theme throughout all of the trailers, what makes The Adjustment Bureau one of the most fun movie in theaters is that it is actually focused on the romance half of the aformentioned phrase. This is the jumping off point for the story, and it is this theme that acts as the glue that holds the entire picture together.
Matt Damon plays David Norris, an aspiring senator who, while on his quest for greatness within American Politics, runs into the quirky Elise Sellas (Blunt). From this moment they hit it off and, after separating, run into each other via chance encounters over the course of the next few years, slowly falling for each other along the way. However, the rub in the movie is that a secret agency called The Adjustment Bureau, one who runs the world and makes sure everybody lives their life according to a greater plan, doesn't want Norris and Sellas to ever meet again.
The reason behind this is that their involvement in each other's life would send them off the course forever. Ok, I know, it sounds silly, but it is after you can accept this fact about a supernatural agency that the movie really gets going.
At the first point where the audience in introduced to the Bureau, we immediately have to accept that a group of fedora donning, suit clad men are running the world. It is here where writer and director George Nolfi could have taken the story in any direction he wanted to. He had a choice, much like Damon in the movie, to stick to the action half of "romance action" or to the romance half. Needless to say, he chooses the latter, and the movie shines as a result.
While there is a good share of chase scenes and intense scenes, the most rewarding moments by far are the ones spent watching Damon and Blunt interact. Their chemistry is flawless (the only tandem I can compare it to is Gosling and Mccadams in The Notebook) making every smile, laugh and sly banter, believable. This is the true heart of The Adjustment Bureau, the true spirit of the film, and while there is time spent of shots watching Damon sprint between New York city streets and The Adjustment Bureau attempting to stop the growing love between both main characters, that is all in place to build upon the solid love story that grows larger with each scene.
The Adjustment Bureau works, and it works because of the way Nolfi chose to film it. Every character in the film is someone the audience roots for, and even the members of the Bureau, while working against Blunt and Damon, are only doing so out of their own means. There is no set bad character, every person seems to be in the right through their own perspective, and this instance, this single fact, is what keeps every scene interesting and well-thought out.
From a quick start to a solid, very satisfying ending, The Adjustment Bureau presents the audience with a love story, and then shows the audience the right way to portray a love story. It is because of this that The Adjustment Bureaur is that breath of fresh air, a break from the norm. Damon's and Blunt's performance is solid, every side character is well built and adds something to the growing relationship, and the action scenes, instead of weighing down the plot, are few and far between, making them all the more meaningful and exciting when they occur. Now, this is not to say that The Adjustment Bureau is a perfect movie, but the discrepancies are so small they are not worth mentioning.
The Adjustment Bureau is a movie that is well built, that is relaxed but at the same time keeps you wanting more, and this is what makes it one of the most fun movie in theaters right now. It is a blend of genres, a blend of styles, that, when put together, do not clash, but rather flow to create a finished product that is both attractive and clean. This film is not a pyschological, powerful film looking for an Oscar nomination, it is not a non stop flow of action, nor is it a stylized piece that constantly hits you over the head with a message.
Rather, it is something else entirely, something more relaxed, laid back, a story for the sake of stories, and while this may not leave the audience with a lasting impression, it gives an escape for a solid two hours, two hours to forget about chores, about problems, about work, and this, in the end, is all that is really needed to remind you how movies should be made.