Monday, 7 March 2011
REVIEW: THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU
To be Blunt, Damon's latest needs no adjustment.
12A, 106 Minutes. Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, Michael Kelly, John Slattery, Anthony Ruivivar & Terence Stamp. Directors: George Nolfi. Screenplay: George Nolfi
"A real man makes his own fate". That's what Leonardo DiCaprio's character Jack said in the movie 'Titanic'. Sure his characters fateful end left him hanging on to a plank of wood that only had room for one, but still that's not the point. DiCaprio's character's philosophy can also be attributed to 'Departed' co-star and fellow A-Star List, leader of all leading men Matt Damon in both his career and latest role in this weeks 'The Adjustment Bureau'. Damons career choices have taken him from a floppy haired, young Oscar winner to a true 'Bourne' star. The worlds, official most marketable actor is always working, in high demand and on our screens at least three times a year. He even has three films out now. Following his second, stunning collaboration with Clint Eastwood in 'Hereafter' and his uplifting versatility in his supporting role in the Cohen's classic 'True Grit', Damon delivers on this new picture, standing alongside the best of British in Emily Blunt.
As adjustment's where made this movie was long delayed from it's moment of release and was considered by some to be a turkey. Still with a little tinkering, what we now have is a highly anticipated movie that delivers, giving us food for thought and if it is short of anything, it is just short of being a masterpiece. This great story is based on the Phillip K. Dick short novel, 'Adjustment Team' and is re-told perfectly by the writing and direction of George Nolfi. Take JFK, with a bit of Bobby and a dash of Obama and you have Damon's character David Norris. A senator who despite being a nice but rough around the edges bad boy is running for New York and could go even further. When all takes a turn for the worse and looks lost however he meets the woman of his dreams, Emily Blunt (hey, isn't she everyone's). From her inspiration he loosens up more then his tie and gives a career speech. His moment is made however, with her number in his pocket.
Sounds like it was meant to be, right? WRONG! This is when a bunch of 'Mad Men', 'Third Watch' guys step in to form 'The Adjustment Bureau' and of course any bunch of oddball, villain esque men in American movies have to be led by an old Brit, and you can thank Terrence Stamp for sealing a performance with as much conviction as Sam Rockwell and Hillary Swank. So as they burn that precious piece of paper with Blunt's number on like a jealous ex, you'd think that would be it right. NOPE! When the two star-crossed lovers run into each other again three years later just by chance (now that really is luck) it's time for more OTT changes and 'Truman Show' style cover ups. You see Damon's character could be President and Blunt's ballet dancer could give the 'Black Swan' a run for her money, but not if their fates intertwine even more then the damage their meeting has already done.
So cue some funny (but pretty damn stylish) hats and the dashing through doors, portals, different parts of New York and all sorts of genres as this story paths out with elements of sci-fi, romance, thrilling action and a dash of humour. This really is an exciting thrill ride that goes completely to plan. Whether your with it or not at the start, by the end of this movie you've got to take your hats off to a smart, engaging film that is a refreshing piece of cinema. It's not 'Bourne' just because it's Damon. It's not 'Inception' just because it's more peculiar then some Statham farce. It's Damon and Blunt giving trademark, top performances, taking a strange picture from uncertainty to acceptance from their respective characters desperation to determination.
Damon is his usual charismatic, nice-guy calm, but he also looks capable of winning any political election with his openness and any woman's heart with his genuine emotion in this perfect performance. His chemistry with Blunt has the makings of a classic in this different science fiction picture. Factor that in with Blunt's classy, confident, 'take no crap' leading lady performance and you have the perfect male and female movie for date night or whatever you call this Friday. This damsel in distress has the conviction of a dame and keeps up pace with Damon, keeping this film running as much as him and as much as this movies poster. Now that's a billboard success.
A cameo from political satire king Jon Stewart and his show isn't the only extra star power that's great to see. The support in this movie changes it for the better too. From T.V. Stars John Slattery to character actor of the moment and 'Fair Games' Michael Kelly. Still with all this versatile and underrated talent it's the even more multi-talented and underrated Anthony Mackie that almost steals the show, even from Damon with an engaging, uplifting and aiding performance that makes the movie. This guy who's been on and off Broadway like George Benson and has played Tupac Shakur is a star in the making. You could almost say it's destined to happen and hey he should know all about that.
As futuristic as this tall story is, it's the old stories that are best and this before it's time, Phillip K. Dick narrative stands the test in this modern day. This movies beautiful cinematography in it's digital form is highly defined and directed perfectly. From the camera angles and shots, to the beautiful, unique capturing of New York, a city that appears in three times the movies that Damon does in any a year. The story is stellar, switching between movie genres as effectively and as convincingly as a Spielberg director or Depp actor. Like true science-fiction this film has heart and mind and like a true thriller it has action and drama, making it truly welcome amongst typical soulless films today in all fellow genres. What makes this true ensemble piece even better is it's thought provoking everyday, simple themes beneath it's complicated layers, such as the highly debated love versus success and the even more argued fate or manifest destiny idea. 'The Adjustment Bureau' in fact had it's own group of powers that be trying to shut it down and hold it back, but it was no use. Just like true love, this movie was meant to be. TIM DAVID HARVEY.