Tuesday, July 19, 2011

3 Short Paragraphs: The Adjustment Bureau


2011, George Nolfi (directorial debut but writer of a few thrillers like Oceans 12 and The Bourne Ultimatum) -- cinema

I like PK Dick material. I like the paranoia and the focus on things being not quite as you expect them to be. TAB is exactly that, by plot and by point, where the world does not go as you expect because it just does but because a group of people influence things to go a certain way, by design. Break the 4th wall, take a peek behind the curtains or get a glimpse at the grand design and you will catch the attention of the Bureau. And if this is the way its been for quite some time then who are you to state it shouldn't be done that way? But isn't that what a protagonist is supposed to do?

David Norris (Matt Damon) wants to be in the US Senate and the Bureau wants him there too. But he meets Elise (Emily Blunt)... by chance. Chance is something the Bureau has trouble wrangling with because sometimes it just happens despite all the controls in those neat little moleskines of theirs. So, even though he is told that he is "destined for greatness" he decides he wants love too. Who doesn't? Or better yet, who shouldn't? So Norris breaks away from fate, knocks the hat off the mad men of the Bureau and chooses to confront the designer of it all.

This is where the movie took a "producers fiddling with the magic" turn for me. It should have gone dark. The fact that there was a plan in place, one set by a mysterious organization that wasn't beyond hurting the actors in the play to make sure it went the way it was supposed to go, tells me that upsetting their plans no matter how noble you appeared, would have dire consequences. But hollywood wants the nice guy to win, get the girl and live happy ever after. Oh yeah, and angels. Never read the original story but somehow I doubt there were angels in dark suits. Well, unless they also wore trench coats and liked U2.