Simon Theory’s 1-Line Review: The Best Movie of 2011, of course, we’re only 2 months in.
Like a fine imported ale, “The Adjustment Bureau”, starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, is well-rounded, full-figured, and no hangover in sight. Based on the Philip K. Dick short story “Adjustment Team”, the film has been given an intriguing and imaginative concept from the Sci-Fi master himself, but what writer/director George Nolfi does with the simple concept is as original as anything I’ve seen in some time.
As ominous and dramatic as it seems, the film is a complete transformation from the original source material adding politics, a much more alluring “grand design”, and a female perspective not included in Dick’s short story. All this plus a well-developed backstory for both lovers crafted into this perfect, little movie. Not the greatest movie, but perfect. Equal parts comedy & drama, equal parts action & romance, sci-fi & religious symbolism, suspense & idealism. The narrative is charming and personal with a fully developed cast, yet plants big ideas of free will versus predestination without letting too much exposition slip out. I seriously laughed and chuckled throughout the entire film, yet always felt the impending drama of the characters strife as moral dilemmas are constantly being forced in Matt Damon’s path.
Another intriguing facet of this well-crafted film is how, as the film develops further into the relationship between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, the more their pasts are revealed. However, instead of telling the audience random bits of personal trivia to better develop character arcs and blow romantic fodder, the filmmaker brilliantly ties every piece of information into the web of decisions that continuously lead our two protagonists down their “Set Path”. For a film surrounding a pair of lovers’ set future, we learn quite a bit about their past in a natural, well-paced manner. The film imparts a great deal of information, but never feels rushed or sloppy. The Adjustment Bureau’s involvement is limited enough to remain plausible in a Heinlein-styled Sci-Fi that has the audience second-guessing the smallest of events in their daily lives which, I believe, was the filmmaker’s point.