Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau

Based on "Adjustment Team" by Philip K. Dick

Directed, Produced and Screenplay by George Nolfi


I wonder if you can rate how successful you have been as an author by how many movies are made from your books and stories. Hummm that would make Philip K. Dick a better science fiction writer than say Isaac Asimov which is patently ridiculous, but there they are... Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep spawned Blade Runner, We Can Remember if fir you Wholesale - Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck. From the Golden Man came the movie “Next”, Second Variety became Screamers and The Adjustment Team was adapted to the move The Adjustment Bureau. A goodly amount by any-one's standards. Though in truth, most of the stories can be called “loosely adapted”.

I had a chance to pick up the Blu-ray of The Adjustment Bureau staring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. A short synopsis of the film your basic paranoid theme where a secret organization is behind every major movement or accomplishment and free will is a fantasy.

Damon’s character New York Congressman David Norris is running for the Senate when discovery of a college stunt ends his chances. He runs into Blunt’s character Elise in a men’s room where he has gone to practice his concession speech. By mis-chance he meets Elise again. However a mystery organization called the The Adjustment Bureau abducts Norris and informs him that Elise and he can never meet as their union would cause undue chaos in the “plan”.

The balance of the movie is, he stays away, then finds her, he stays away again and has to see her and finally they both are running from and to something together.

The movie certainly had all the earmarks of an overheated paranoid fantasy in the vein of Total Recall. But where ever Recall played it large to the point of shock value, Bureau grudgingly gave up plot point. Where a lot of the adaptations have been large and noisy, Bureau played quiet on small sets. There in only one chase in the whole move, that would kill most scripts or directors, is a perfect match for this quiet film.

In truth it is a bit predictable, but not in a shambling ill written way, it is just clear at a point in the film that there is only one way for this movie to go and only two ways for it to turn out. But the trip there is done with grace and feeling for the characters. Not too shabby in today’s self gratification / aggrandizement slop that Hollywood seems hell bent on force feeding us.

The extras on the blu/ray are a bit of a mixed bag, there could have been more but what WAS there, was damn good. The biggest extra is of course a low key voice over by the director which is surprisingly informative! Next is an unusual way of exploring the movie. This is a game of sorts where you can zoom into certain parts of the city marked by a door (thanks to google maps) when you “enter” these doors you either get a deleted scene, behind the scene or several other options. It really is quite inventive, add to that a few shorts of tests and you get the ideas that yes, extras are sparse but informative.

Ratings? well "Nothing New Here" describes this movie way too accurately, but should that be its' downfall? No. I was thinking of a seven but that is just vindictive, It is good enough to be called an 8 and the extras an 8.5 which is cheap I know but it pulls it up a bit above an overall 8 which I think is fair. 8.25 overall

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