Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

In 1954 Philip K. Dick wrote a short story titled "Adjustment Team" and more than 50 years later it was adapted into a screenplay by George Nolfi. Taking a short story and expanding it into a feature length film is not an easy task, but through the complexity of a political, syfy, romantic drama/thriller the story holds your attention throughout. In George Nolfi's directorial debut his vision and influences are extremely evident. Without being overwhelming "the Adjustment Bureau" offers a unique look at religion. This movie is a cross between the "Bourne Identity" (2002), "Serendipity" (2001), and the "Matrix" (1999).

The movie stars Matt Damon as a politician who has a chance encounter with Emily Blunt. The question over whether we control our own destiny almost instantly is impressed upon the audience. However, it is the Adjustment Bureau that is writing (or adjusting) our fate and the agents that are following Matt Damon are Tom, Dick and Harry. These agents while perceived to be the antagonist in the story blur the line of good/evil. The acting by the agents is superb with Thompson (Terence Stamp), Richard (John Slattery), and Harry (Anthony Mackie) portraying three different emotional states of the agents. Harry is the agent that is battling with his own decisions and questioning the path that has been written. Richard is the arrogant agent that thinks he knows what is best and blames Harry for his failures. Thompson is the "hammer" that is brought in when the other agents cannot get the case finished. Ultimately, the question of free will vs fate is challenged by Matt Damon and we see the battle between free will and fate unfold.

I found the camera work in the movie to be very stylized and everything was done with purpose. You don't want to take anything for granted in this movie as there is foreshadowing in every shot. The ending is rather abrupt, if a kiss that lasts nearly a minute on screen can be considered abrupt. It is however a quality movie and worthy of 4 Quacks. It is a movie that people will hopefully be quacking about.

After the screening it was an honor to sit in on an interview with George Nolfi and Anthony Mackie. There were some great questions from the crowd and some interesting responses from George Nolfi.

(screening 2/15/11, release date 3/4/11, location Regal Gallery Place 14)

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