I've got two entries into Movie Night coming soon, but first I wanted to stay on top of my Weekly Wish List films. Today we will be looking at The Adjustment Bureau, the feature debut of George Nolfi starring PORTEmaus fan favorite Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. This came out earlier this year and promised to be a strong debut of a new talent, blending equal parts sci fi tale of fate and free will, and a sincere mature love story. I'm here to say that Nolfi succeeds on all levels. This is a solid film, that is worth all of your time, and hopefully a tease of what this director is capable of.
Nolfi plays the whole film as a wonderful balancing act. The film tells the story of Damon who is a shamed politician, who meets a woman on the eve of a great loss and continues to run into her throughout the film. The two seem inexplicably drawn to each other, and we see in the background agents attempting to keep the two apart by any means possible. It would seem that in the background of all of our lives there are beings who ensure we follow the correct path, and they sometimes intervene with subtle pushes such as a dropped call or a spilled cup of coffee which force us to miss a bus or pass by someone we wouldn't have seen otherwise. What amazes me here is that Nolfi never pushes the bar too far in either direction focusing equally on the romance between Damon and Blunt as well as the agents attempting to keep them apart. By doing this he opens up an otherwise sci fi heavy film to become a hybrid that is easily enjoyed by both fans of romance and sci fi.
Do not think he dumbs down the sci fi elements here at all, he gets pretty high concept with the intricacies of the Adjustment Bureau. Giving you just enough details to keep an air of intrigue, but allowing the viewer to understand the "rules" of this universe. Slattery and Mackie turn in gret supporting turns as "middle manager" within the bureau and the caretaker of Damon's "case" respectively. Mackie's role is quite small, but he really takes it and shows how these people can grow conscience. This is another wonderful turn for Mackie, who already did so well as Renner's partner in The Hurt Locker. Slattery plays his role with charisma and confidence, proving once again that the guy brings smooth to anything he does.
Just like Nolfi refuses to dumb down the sci fi elements, he also provides a well written love story. There is nothing more classic than lovers fated to be together, and here Nolfi manages to give these two people a different spin on it. In which fate and its agents seem at odds with one another. The conflict that Damon goes through is well acted and we see how difficult his decisions are as he goes through life weighing his choices between a life of love or achieving his own dreams and aspirations. Emily Blunt is wonderfully charming as the spunky carefree dancer who balances Damon's ambitious politician. You believe the chemistry between them even though we know they've only seen each other a handful of times.
I strongly recommend this title as a genre bending treat. It is a great adult drama that mixes sci fi and romance without sacrificing quality from either genre. I love seeing new talent burst onto the scene, and Nolfi does good work here. I doubt this will make any top ten lists, but it is a fine film worth checking out and hopefully the start of a wonderful career.
One last thought - Zod will always be a badass.
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