Thursday Night Movie Club
The Adjustment Bureau
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Release Date: March 4, 2011

Director: George Nolfi
Matt Damon
Emily Blunt
Anthony Mackie
John Slattery
Michael Kelly
Terence Stamp
David Norris
Elise Sellas
Harry Mitchell
Charlie Traynor
Adjustment Bureau movie poster - Click the poster to link to the official movie website.
The Adjustment Bureau uses elements and themes from The Matrix and Dark City and a few others for sure. This is a story that has been told many times yet this iteration is fresh and new.

Society as a whole is moving along just fine, thank you. Lurking in the shadow are the "Men in Black", not really, but close. There is a group of shady characters in suits and fedora hats moving about unseen. The control the doings of the rest of humanity with logical precision. Picture Mr. Spock. Logical to a fault. Add one little piece of Dr. McCoy, something say as strong of an emotion as Love, and KAOS (pun intended) rains down on this idyllic, logical world view.

David Norris (Damon) is on the fast track for a great politcal career as a U.S. Senator with possible sights on the Presidency. He is popular with the masses and he cannot possibly lose. Norris is about to take a left turn and wind up in The Twilight Zone. The Adjustment Bureau could be a two-hour long episode of that classic television series.

Quite unexpectedly, as Love usually is, Norris runs into Elise Sellas (Blunt), a rising star slated to become a prima dona ballerina. The attraction between the love-smitten couple is instantaneous. Emotions run high between them. But love is not in the cards with the Adjustment Bureau. Adjustments have to be made. Harry Mitchell (Mackie), assigned to watch over Norris, is instructed to keep the two apart.

Elise gives Norris her phone number. Thanks to the Bureau, he promptly loses it and realizes that they did not make any backup plans for a future rendezvous. Years pass but their love hasn't ebbed.

The Bureau has decreed Norris and Sellas are never to meet again. Great lengths and strategies are devised to keep them apart. Unfortunately, Mackie has made a serious mistake. He has missed causing a scheduled "accident" which results in the opposite effect. Norris and Sellas meet once more. Since Love is more powerful than Hate, it doesn't take long before all is forgiven and the couple is back on the fast-track to a life of love, happiness and bliss.

Events have come to a head. This second chance encounter cannot be allowed to continue. Norris is on the verge of election. His mind can't be preoccupied by something as trivial as love when the good of the populace hangs in the balance. Thompson (Stamp) is called in to rectify the deteriorating situation. In a last ditch effort to save Norris' political future, Thompson introduces Norris to the Adjustment Bureau. He explains their function and the decision Norris must make.

It should come as no surprise that Norris chooses Love over politics. The film would be over otherwise. The game is afoot. The chase is on. Several Bureau agents become involved to keep Norris from Sellas, at all costs. The film goes askew for the next several scenes. This is on purpose. Norris does not know of the full extent of the power of the Adjustment Bureau. He chases an agent through a door only to find himself in an empty closet.

The key to the bureaus's power is their seemingly out of touch fedora hats. The wearer of the hat can use it to open key doorways throughout the city like a small hyper-spatial transporter. The Bureau uses this technique to get to a specific location before any "regular" human can. This assures any bureau agent of being ahead of the game. They now have extra time to carry out their designs. The following chase scenes are quite unique and fun to watch as Norris tries door after door to peck and claw his way back to Sellas.

How can such an evil atrocity be allowed to persist? The Adjustment Bureau is not a bunch of loathsome, descpicable monsters. They are caring people. They care about humanity. The work tirelessly to achieve one goal: to improve the human condition. They are not themselves devoid of emotion. Norris has no chance of over getting together with Sellas until one of the bureau agents takes pity on the young lovers and begins to assist Norris in his campaign.

The script for The Adjustment Bureau is very good. The special effects are not flashy but they serve the story well. The directing is good as are the performances of the entire cast. This isn't a great movie and it will not go down as a classic. But it is very good, exciting and suspenseful.

There really is only one thing really missing from The Adjustment Bureau: a sense of dread or foreboding. The mood of the film is rather light-hearted. No where near as dark and mysterious as it could have been to send the film into the world of the classic films. It is a very good film. The Adjustment Bureau is ulimately lacking in pushing the elements further that ultimately brings down the film a notch.